Everyone in the Mountain West knew who Bryce Hamilton was coming into this season. He was not an unknown player. He led UNLV in scoring the previous two years.
But that doesn’t mean Hamilton can’t blossom into a better player. In 2021-22, he has become efficient.
Hamilton is posting career highs in offensive rating (109.3), effective field goal percentage (50.7%) and total shooting percentage (155.3%). All while maintaining a ridiculous 34.5 percent usage rate.
Essentially more than one third of UNLV’s offense runs through Hamilton.
That’s no different than the previous two seasons, when he had usage rates of 32.2 and 33.5 percent. But the efficiency is new.
Hamilton was a mid-range specialist. He didn’t get to the rim often enough and he was a poor three-point shooter.
But this season, Hamilton has taken 34.4 percent of his shots from the mid-range, which is still a high rate. However it is the lowest mark of his last three seasons.
The key is his three-point shooting. After blistering Colorado State with seven triples, Hamilton has raised his three-point percentage to 35.8 percent.
Kevin Kruger deserves some credit for Hamilton’s shooting boost. Kruger has emphasized taking catch and shoot threes over off the dribble threes. So far this season 74.4 percent of Hamilton’s threes have been assisted. Last year it was 54.3 percent.
Hamilton leading the Mountain West in scoring is not a surprise. But doing on the back of great three-point shooting is.
If he can keep it up, it is a game changer for not only UNLV, but Hamilton’s NBA potential as well.