Nate Hinton is one of the most unique players to enter the league this season. Last year at Houston, Hinton averaged just 10.6 points per game on 41% shooting. The golden line on Hinton’s box score is of course his rebounding. He averaged 8.7 rebounds per game last season. Yes, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 8.7 rebounds per game last season.
Hinton’s playmaking abilities are a bit of a work in progress, but I like the prospects of him playing on the wing. He was a decent shooter in college, making 74-of-202 (36.6%) career attempts. He’s a good defender, an efficient spot-up shooter and has great feel for the game.
Being on a two-way contract, he has the luxury of figuring his game out in the G-League. In his 50 games he has available to play the Mavericks, he’ll have the opportunity to prove his skillset is ready for the NBA.
The Biggest Question
How can Hinton fill a team need?
This is really the golden question for any two-way player. Usually the need a team has is depth. That’s what got Antonious Cleveland and Josh Reaves some minutes in the bubble last season. This season, depth could be more important than ever. A COVID-19 positive test could sideline a player for up to two weeks. Hinton could come off the bench and help pick up the slack among the rest of the bench.
Hinton has more to offer than being just a body. He showed that in his first game with the Mavericks.
In the preseason opener against the Bucks, he scored 8 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had 4 assists in just 15 minutes. That’s a great line for your “debut”.
Best Case Scenario
Hinton is able to carve out a role for himself coming off the bench and gives the Mavericks even more depth.
The guard/ball-handler depth chart is pretty deep right now:
- Luka Doncic
- Jalen Brunson
- Trey Burke
- Tyrell Terry
- Nate Hinton (2W)
All of those guys seem to have a clear-cut role except for Terry. The way Hinton can get himself minutes is by doing something no one else in that rotation offers. Everyone behind Doncic is undersized. Hinton is a bruiser and offers a higher degree of toughness. If he can fight it out on the block, crash the boards, score in the paint and make jump shots, he could get himself in the rotation.
Worst Case Scenario
Hinton stays in the G-League until he’s no longer a Maverick.
The NBA is a tough business. It takes a special player to make the jump from G-League to full time NBA player. It’s not impossible, but it is hard.
I see something I really like in Hinton. He just has such a high motor and it’s every time he’s on the court, he’s going to make a difference. I think the Mavericks could really use his toughness and rebounding at the guard position.
I’m excited to track Hinton’s progress through the G-League. I hope he is able to develop his skills in a way that gets him in an NBA rotation. Of course, I hope he’s able to do so as a Mav.