Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks draft pick Hammons wants to disprove ‘low motor’ label

Purdue's A.J. Hammons was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks.
Purdue's A.J. Hammons was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. AP

The scouting report on A. J. Hammons is that he’s lazy, emotionless and that he doesn’t get the most out of his talent.

Hammons doesn’t exactly disagree with that rap sheet.

“Everybody’s got their perception,” Hammons said during a Friday conference call. “They’ve got the perception of me being like a little lazy here and there.

“But it’s something I’ve been working on to get that opinion out of the way. I’ve been running the court all summer trying to get a better motor.”

The Mavericks used their lone draft pick, the 46th overall, to take Hammons in the second round of Thursday’s NBA Draft. And they expect the 7-foot, 250-pound center from Purdue to come in with a high motor and help get this franchise out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Hammons said the first time he heard chatter of him having a low motor was during his freshman year at Purdue.

“It was like, OK, I can just listen to that as feedback,” he said. “I guess I looked like I didn’t have a motor, but I’ve pushed myself at it and the last two years I’ve gotten better at it.

“I’ve been trying to get a better motor just to show everybody I’ve been doing everything I can do just to play at a high level.”

The Mavericks don’t seem overly concerned about Hammons’ motor issues, which might have caused him to slip in the draft.

They know that he had 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in a game against Vanderbilt center Damian Jones, who was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the last pick of the first round.

“Skilled big men aren’t out there growing on trees,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Finding these guys is very difficult.

“Our people have done a lot of homework on him. We’re happy to have the opportunity to get a guy like that.”

Hammons played four seasons at Purdue, but thought about declaring for the NBA Draft after his junior campaign.

“We had a great team,” Hammons said. “I just wanted to finish out my last year and get my degree and actually try to do the best thing I can for my team.”

Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said the team’s draft was “orchestrated’’ by Michael Finley, the team’s assistant vice president of basketball operations.

Finley had nothing but high praise for Hammons, who averaged 15 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks last season.

“He was a guy that we had ranked pretty high on our board, and to see him still there at the 46th pick, we felt pretty lucky,” Finley said. “It was a no-brainer when he was on the board for us to pick, and we’re happy with the pick.

“As a four-year senior, we know that from a mature standpoint he’ll be able to step in and hopefully contribute right away, so that’s what we’re looking forward to in A.J. From the guys I talked to around the Big Ten, he’s a good guy, and I think you guys will love him.”

Hammons will wear No. 20 and will compete on the Mavericks’ Las Vegas summer league team, which starts play July 9. The Mavs hope he can be the same rim protector and rebounder in the NBA that he was at Purdue.

“Yeah, 7-foot guys with skill that can rebound, a rebound every three minutes is a very good number,” Carlisle said. “Of course, the NBA game is going to be different than college.

“But I really think his game, his overall skill set, body type and length projects well to the NBA and to our team in particular.”

Ellis joins squad

Former Kansas forward Perry Ellis has agreed to play on the Mavericks’ summer league team.

Ellis, 6-foot-8, played four seasons at Kansas and was not drafted Thursday. Ellis was a consensus second-team All-American last season while averaging 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

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