Washington Wizards: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Richard Hamilton, Washington Wizards
Richard Hamilton, Washington Wizards. Mandatory credit: Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images /
  • Three seasons w/Wizards (1999-02)
  • 212 career games w/Wizards
  • 15.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists per game w/Wizards

Richard Hamilton was the star player for the 1999 UConn Huskies, the team that won the NCAA Tournament, bringing Jim Calhoun his first of three national titles while leading UConn. The Wizards wanted Hamilton’s championship pedigree and wisely used their No. 7 overall pick on the star shooting guard from the reigning national champion.

Hamilton might have only played three years with the Wizards, but it was clear that his star potential college was going to translate to the professional level. After coming off the bench as a rookie in 1999-00, Hamilton would average at least 18.1 points per game and shoot at least 43.5 percent from the field in his final two years with the Wizards.

Frankly, Washington wasn’t the least bit good during Hamilton’s time in the nation’s capital, but his talent was obvious. Shortly before the 2002-03 NBA season, he would be traded to the Detroit Pistons in a package for Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse was a good player for the Wizards, but Hamilton became a multi-time NBA All-Star in Detroit, helping the Pistons win their third NBA championship in 2003-04 as their starting 2-guard.

Hamilton would spend the next nine seasons in Detroit, where he put together a Hall of Very Good career for the Pistons, resulting in his No. 32 jersey being retired by the organization. He spent his final two NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls, but health became an issue for him. Hamilton never appeared in more than 67 games in his final five NBA seasons.

Overall, the Wizards were able to get a 15.6 points-per-game scorer in Hamilton and turn him into a similarly skilled player in Stackhouse. However, Stackhouse only lasted two seasons in Washington, D.C. before making his way to the Dallas Mavericks. Hamilton became an All-Star and an NBA champion in Detroit.

Hamilton’s injury-riddled career is what probably keeps him out of Springfield, although his time at UConn could be what catapults him in some day. Though he’ll always be remembered as a Piston rather than a Wizard, at least he was a better lottery pick than the Toronto Raptors taking Jonathan Bender at No. 5 back in 1999, who would be a less-than-replacement-level player for primarily the Indiana Pacers.