Mavs Draft 7-Foot Center In Second Round of NBA Draft

The Dallas Mavericks selected 7-foot center A.J. Hammons of Purdue with the 46th overall pick in the second round of the NBA draft Thursday.

Hammons, the defensive player of the year at Purdue, averaged 15 points per game last season, adding 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He shot 59-percent from the floor.

At 7 feet tall, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, the 278-pound Hammons has the physical makeup and skill set to compete in the NBA right away. He led the Big Ten in block percentage all four years in college. The 23-year-old also led the conference in blocks per game and defensive rating during his senior season.

"The skilled center finished his four years at Purdue ranked on many of its all-time lists including rebounds (3rd), blocks (2nd) and scoring (17th). Hammons garnered Second Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors as a junior and was named Big Ten All-Freshman Team in his first collegiate season," the Mavericks touted his ability in their press release.

Hammons apparently slid because of questions about how motivated he will be.

"I just talked to him on the phone. He sounds like he's really energetic to me," Carlisle said. "Now it's our job to make sure that he has a long and productive NBA career. I think we can get him fired up about playing with us."

When free agency opens next week, the center spot will be a prime target for the Mavericks, who figure their most significant offseason upgrades will come via signings of veterans.

The Mavericks had just one pick in Thursday's draft because of the ill-fated Rajon Rondo trade that sent their 2016 first-round choice to Boston in a five-player deal during the 2014-15 season.

AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon contributed to this report.

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