The Dallas Mavericks selected Purdue center A.J. Hammons with the 46th of the NBA Draft.
It was likely Hammons would hear his name called, it was just a matter of when.
Hammons has all the skills. The 7-foot, 260-pound center can block shots, score in the post, hit a jump shot and move. He averaged 15.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game on 59.2 percent shooting as a senior.
If it was based on talent alone, he would have been picked in the lottery.
However, there were two questions that caused Hammons to slip.
The first is effort. Hammons often looked unengaged during his four-year career at Purdue. He also dealt with a suspension as recently as the start of his senior season. For this reason, Hammons pulled his name out of the NBA Draft after his sophomore and junior seasons.
The second question was age. Hammons will be 24 years old by the time the NBA season starts. Scouts tend to shy away from older collegiate prospects who excel against younger players. Big men that go at the top of the draft are typically young, unproven and bursting with potential. The 7-footers are generally projects. Teams tend to prefer projects who are young enough to ride the bench for a few years.
He can give the Mavs a big man off the bench who can impact the game on both ends of the court. He'll likely work on continuing to develop his jump shot, something that was just becoming a weapon last season at Purdue. Hammons missed all 12 of his 3-point attempts over the course of his first three years with the Boilermakers. With the NBA played the way it is today, Hammons wanted to show that he could play on the perimeter. He did so, shooting 54.5 percent (6-for-11) from behind the arc as a senior. He was around a 70 percent free-throw shooter every year at Purdue, including shooting 70.9 percent (90-for-127) from the free-throw line last season.
Hammons should be able to excel in the pick-and-roll game. His skill set should allow him to set a pick and roll to the basket for lobs, or to step out and hit jump shots from the elbows, or deeper if his jump shot continues to progress.
Guarding the pick and roll will also help him get on the court. The NBA playoffs made it clear that today's big men need the ability to switch onto perimeter players. Hammons has the length and good enough feet to hold his own, depending on how hard he works to improve his defense.
In all, Dallas will likely get a player who, depending on matchups, will likely develop into someone that can provide quality minutes off the bench. The NBA is all about matchups, and a 7-footer with the length and skills of Hammons will always be valuable in certain situations.