Thoughts on Amir Hinton

March 9, 2019

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Shaw’s 6-5 junior guard, Amir Hinton play in a Division II college basketball game against Livingstone in a game that was played on February 9th, 2019 with thanks to YouTube via Alex Hines.  Recently, Hinton had declared to enter the draft, and he has been rated as a potential second round pick, as he has risen on ESPN’s draft board lately.  Though his team ended up with the loss, I was impressed with Hinton’s skills and what he did in this game.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Amir Hinton did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense.  He can make deep spot-up threes off the catch, and he has a fairly quick release that enables him to easily get his shot off.  He also drove left off of a screen to make a long, pull-up two-pointer from just inside the arc.  He did rush one shot as he had a fadeaway mid-range jumper blocked, but his team was up against the shot clock, even though it led to a shot clock violation.

He also showed an adequate ability to score on quick drives to the basket.  Hinton has a fairly good first step to the hoop, and he can use a variety of dribble moves to get past his man to get shots up in the paint.  Hinton used an overhead ball fake to split a double team once, and he was able to score on a close-range, pull-up jumper.  He also can draw free throws on strong, aggressive moves to the hoop, but sometimes he can miss wildly in traffic as he may try to force up shots in an attempt to get foul calls.  He also flashed the ability to score in the post.  Hinton used a quick rip move to get a quick score off the glass as he changes directions well.  On the other hand, he struggled to consistently score in the post, and sometimes he can miss tough shots in traffic.

Also, Hinton displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He is a deft ball handler that sees the floor well, and he can operate out on the wing, or as a big point guard on the court.  He is an unselfish player that can throw sharp passes to his teammates to set up numerous scoring chances for them, and he will push the ball up the floor as he can kick the ball out to shooters, but sometimes he would try to force the issue when looking to create off the dribble, as he was called for a carry once, and he also lost the ball another time when trying to barrel into traffic due to going too fast that time.  He also was called for offensive fouls, as he was called once for embellishing while trying to get a foul call on a pull-up long two, and he also was called for a clear out on a drive due to a questionable late game call by the officials.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards when he was on the floor.  Though Hinton didn’t grab many rebounds, he would run down balls to get rebounds on both ends of the floor, and he can push the ball up court, bring it up, or throw long outlet passes to set up transition scoring opportunities for his teammates.  However, Hinton had trouble corralling balls to consistently get rebounds, and there was one play where he forgot to block out, which allowed an opponent to get an offensive board.

Defensively though, he may need to improve on this end of the floor.  Though Hinton is a very good rangy athlete that has solid length and the instincts to excel on defense, his effort did not seem to be as high as when he would be on offense.  For the positives, he will play help defense, as he can intercept passes and poke balls away from opponents to get steals and deflections for his team, and he will also heap on loose balls on the ground.  Hinton showed good feet to defend opponents off the dribble out on the perimeter, and he can fight through screens to stay with his man.

On the other hand, his effort tended to lag too often on this side of the ball.  There were numerous times where he would not run hard back on defense, and his team would end up allowing scores in transition.  Other times, he would be too undisciplined and unfocused on this end.  Sometimes he would lose track of cutters, which would cause his teammates to commit fouls, and he also will bite on pump fakes and whiff on steal attempts when playing passing lanes, which can cause him to be out of position.  He also had his hands down when defending an interior pass another time, which allowed his opponent to throw an easy pass to a low post player to set up the score.

Another detail in this game was that this game was tightly called, and Hinton ended up picking up two technical fouls, as the referees felt he was being too argumentative when he was called for fouls on defense.  Some of the fouls he was called were questionable at best, as he didn’t seem to make much contact at all with his opponents that would cause him to end up in foul trouble.  He did have a mental lapse midway in the first half, as there was one play where he was guarding the wrong sideline and had to run very far to contest a three-point shot, but his opponent did end up missing the shot.

In general, Amir Hinton is an athletic, skilled basketball player that can help contribute in a variety of ways, and he could end up thriving as a role player in the NBA.  He will need to make the adjustments from playing in Division II to the NBA, as he may need to spend some time in the G-League at first, but Hinton has the talent to be able to make the transition to eventually succeed in the association.  Right now, Hinton may project to be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and he could end up being a good find for an NBA team, as he may have a similar game to Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Lance Stephenson, but minus the antics and personal baggage, for the next level.