Posts Tagged ‘Rip Hamilton’

Blogtable: Bulls Missing Rose Finally?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

We asked about Derrick Rose’s absence last week. Has it caught up with the Bulls, or were they just due for back-to-back losses?

Steve Aschburner: Rose has been out too long with the mother of all groin strains. Chicago has managed to go 14-7 without the league’s MVP, a credit to its depth and coaching. But it’s a Band-Aid over the problem. Neither the point guard rotation nor the Bulls’ offense was built for this. Rip Hamilton‘s multiple absences (37 games) have compounded the backcourt woes and jumbled what once was a rock-solid bench unit. We can admire the Bulls for holding things together without Rose as long as they did, but going one-third of a season without your best player will bring any team to its knees.

Fran Blinebury: Considering that it was merely the second-longest such streak in NBA history, I’m willing to cut the Bulls a little slack. That said, a Rose by any other name — oh, say, John Lucas III — is hardly as sweet.

Scott Howard-Cooper: You mean the team that immediately before that won nine of 11, including victories over the Heat, Magic, 76ers and Hawks? Doesn’t seem anything is catching up with the Bulls. The story isn’t suddenly that Chicago has struggled without Rose the last couple games. The story remains that it has done so well without him. The loss to the Thunder was bad because of the margin of defeat, not because losing at OKC is panic-button time. And the loss to the Rockets was the second of a back-to-back against a possible playoff team in the West.

Shaun Powell: Once again, there’s no need for panic in Chicago, where the Bulls are guaranteed at least a 2-seed in the East even if Rose sits another week. That said … how much do the Bulls value home-court throughout, especially if they meet Miami in the East finals? I subscribe to the theory that home-court matters little at that stage of the playoffs, that the best team wins regardless. So, unless the Bulls are buying into the home-court mystique, let Rose continue to rest and heal, and let the supporting cast play on. If the Bulls’ losing streak stretches to five or six, forget what you just read here.


Rosen’s Report: Bulls at Heat

With the ancient Celtics having recently exposed the Magic’s lack of heart — not once but twice! — the Bulls and the Heat are currently the only viable contenders to rule the Eastern Conference.  Sunday’s game in Miami provides a wonderful opportunity for Chicago to chill the Heat’s championship pretensions.

Meanwhile, the home standing Heat have the opportunity to prevent the Bulls from even dreaming that they can compete on equal terms with the holdover conference champs.  Again, in this compacted and bizarre season, every game has an enhanced and disproportional importance.

HOW THE BULLS CAN WIN: Derrick Rose has become the most potent point guard in the NBA.  Although his unselfishness and considerable ball-time result in his being one of the league’s leading assist-makers, Rose is really the Bulls’ go-to scorer.   That’s because his shooting stroke has greatly improved, he’s nearly as strong as a power-forward, and his quickness and speed are otherworldly.  Indeed, where other players are celebrated for the quickness of their first-step, Rose accelerates as he approaches the rim — making his second- and third-steps incredibly unique.  Also, players necessarily lose a half-beat when they resort to some kind of crossover dribble, but Rose’s changes-of-direction likewise amp up his quickness.  And with Dwayne Wade not at 100 percent, none of Miami’s backcourtsmen can contain Rose.


Bulls Have To Grind With/Without Deng

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Few teams in the league have shown a better understanding of how to survive without a key player than the league-leading Chicago Bulls.

They lose reigning MVP Derrick Rose for a few games with that bad toe and don’t miss a beat.

So while it’s obvious that the Bulls know exactly what to do when one of their big dogs is out of the lineup, it will be interesting to see what they do with Luol Deng on the shelf with that “Kobe Bryant” (torn ligament) in his left wrist.

It’s strange how Deng and Bryant’s names have criss-crossed over the course of Deng’s career. Don’t forget, it was reportedly Deng that the Bulls tried to send to the Lakers in a deal that would have brought Kobe to Chicago years ago. Reports that Bryant was objecting to any deal that included Deng (he wanted to make sure the Bulls had enough talent to compete for a title) is a testament to the value Deng’s peers place on his game.

That’s impressive for a player with no All-Star appearances on his resume yet and is one who is often overlooked when the conversation of the best small forwards in the game comes up.

Even more impressive will be the Bulls’ continued ability to grind through the avalanche of nicks, bumps and bruises that they’ve been able to brush aside so far (16-3 and atop the Eastern Conference and the league). They host the Pacers tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV.

“I know it’s a bad injury and it sounds terrible, but really, I think it will fine,” Deng, who is trying to avoid surgery, told reporters yesterday. “We’ve got a good team, and I think I’m going to be fine.”


Two Homecomings Worth Mentioning


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’d be remiss here at Hang Time if we didn’t review a pair of returns Wednesday night, Rip Hamilton in Detroit and Rashard Lewis in Orlando. For completely different reasons, both players made their mark on those franchises before moving on, mainly because those franchises didn’t want them anymore.

Let’s get to Rip first. He led the Pistons to the 2004 title and a string of deep playoff runs last decade before the team around him crumbled. And then he was bought out and waived by Detroit and fell into the lap of the Bulls, thrilled to have a guard with a nasty mid-range jumper playing next to Derrick Rose. Well, Rip was warmly welcomed back to the Palace — by all six fans who showed up (actually, the announced crowd was 9,125. For the Bulls. Yeesh. Remember when The Palace was always filled with 20,000 strong?). It was a surreal sight for Rip, if only because the atmosphere was far different during the glory years, but times have changed for Rip and the Pistons, as we see.

Hamilton had nothing but positive memories and things to say anyway, as recounted here by Perry A. Farrell in the Detroit Free-Press:

What few fans showed up for the Pistons’ 99-83 loss to Chicago gave Richard Hamilton a warm round of applause tonight at the Palace.

Public address announcer John Mason described him as the longtime shooting guard.

Before the game Hamilton chatted with Austin Daye, and just before tip-off went over to the Detroit bench and hugged Rodney Stuckey, trainer Mike Abdenour, assistant coach Brian Hill and coach Lawrence Frank. He spent a lot of time at half-court afterward greeting his former teammates.

Hamilton said every time he looked up into the Palace rafters he saw his name — alongside those of Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, Corliss Williamson, Elden Campbell, Mehmet Okur, Rahseed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and the rest of the group that brought a title back to Detroit in 2004.

He faced his old team for the first time since being waived and bought out of his contract last month.

“It was fun,” said Hamilton, who scored seven of his 14 points in the third quarter and played through a sore left groin while racking up five assists and three rebounds. “I couldn’t wait for the ball to be thrown up. There was a lot of emotion early in the game, being on the visitor’s side and not being accustomed to it in this building. It was difficult. I said. ‘Man, please don’t start crying or anything crazy.’

“The fans appreciate what I did here. They’ve always been supportive of me. Even when things weren’t going well they’d always chant my name. I have a lot of love for them. It’s tough to see this place half empty. I think when Chauncey and Rahseed and I were here they had sellouts for seven straight years.”


Rick’s Tips: A Few Christmas Presents

Hope y’all had the best holiday season of your lives. Christmas Day sure was a blast, what with Knicks-Celtics and Bulls-Lakers giving us a pair of thrillers to unwrap. The stars came to play and the fantasy world got some key answers in the first of 66. Let’s relive Christmas day, game by game …

Kobe, D-Rose deliver

There was never a doubt that 2008 MVP Kobe Bryant would play through a torn ligament in his right wrist and there was never a doubt that 2011 MVP Derrick Rose would come through in the end.

Rose’s game-winning running hook shot reminded me of Magic Johnson’s junior sky hook in the 1987 Finals against Boston. Rose shooting four-of-six from deep should have his owners counting on at least two 3-pointers per game this season. Kobe’s eight turnovers were bad news in reality (as well as annoying fantasy leagues that include turnovers), but fantasy owners were just fine with 28-7-6 and two steals.

LeBron better than KD? In fantasy, you bet

Do you think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had a score to settle on Christmas? James and Wade were so locked in, they might have beaten the Mavs two-on-five. LeBron went off for 37-10-6-2-2, while Wade calmly racked up 26-8-6-1-1. The fantasy owners who took LeBron over Kevin Durant are feeling mighty smart right about now.

The Heat didn’t stay on the court to observe the Mavericks raising their championship banner…probably because they have plans of their own. (By the way, I’ve got Heat over Thunder in an s-less Final).

Chris Bosh, like Chicago’s Rip Hamilton, had a tough defensive assignment and spent Christmas in foul trouble. No worries for either Bosh or Rip, as I still anticipate bounce back seasons from both.

Bass a gem in waiting

It’s not every day that players from two different teams benefit from one injury, but that’s what happened to Rajon Rondo and Carmelo Anthony on Christmas.

With Paul Pierce resting his heel injury, Rondo got all the shots he wanted, making 11 of 19 for 31 points, to go with 13 assists, five steals and five rebounds. Rondo even made 9-of-12 free throws. Don’t hold your breath, but Rondo finally appears to be turning the corner with his shot.

‘Melo was free from Pierce’s underrated defense, making 10 of 17 shots for 37 points. If ‘Melo keeps hitting threes like this (4-for-7), then he will vault into the top 10 on the 8-cat charts.

I was worried that Amar’e Stoudemire would block fewer shots with Tyson Chandler manning the middle, but so far so good after Stoudemire got two swats on Christmas.

Brandon Bass exploded for 20 and 11 in 27 minutes, keeping the Celtics in the game in the first half. With Jeff Green out for the season and Jermaine O’Neal unlikely to play long minutes at center, Bass is going to hover around 30 minutes all season. His lack of shot blocking is a buzzkill, but don’t let that keep you from picking him up NOW.

Fantasy steal of the year in Orlando?

In a game featuring superstars Durant, Russell Westbrook and Dwight Howard, how ironic that Ryan Anderson stole the fantasy show on the strength of 25 and 10 with six 3-pointers? KD was KD, Russ was Russ, and Dwight was Dwight, but Anderson was the fantasy pickup of the day — and perhaps the fantasy pickup of the year.

When your power forward is hitting two-plus 3-pointers per game, it’s a game changer in head-to-head fantasy leagues. Glen Davis backs up the 4 and 5 right now, so Anderson will have no problem seeing 28-32 minutes per night. And if Christmas Day was any indication, Anderson could challenge for the league lead in total threes.

No limp in Curry’s game

The best fantasy news of the day came from Stephen Curry, who overcame a re-re-re-re-injured right ankle to start against the Clippers in the Debut Bowl.

Chris Paul made his Clippers debut, taking over the game in the fourth quarter with a personal 6-0 run. He finished with 20 points, nine assists with two steals, which are basically his career averages.

Chauncey Billups made his Clippers debut, posting a two-guard-esque line of 21-5-4 with three 3-pointers. The really good news was 19 shot attempts … and the fact that it didn’t feel abnormally high in L.A.’s offense.

Caron Butler made his Clippers debut with a double-double (11-10). Tough Juice had three steals and a 3-pointer, rounding out a solid total line. He’s a borderline fantasy starter in normal-sized leagues.

Coach Mark Jackson made his coaching debut with a loss, as he watched his backcourt of Curry and Monta Ellis combine to shoot 8-of-31. Call it an off night for the best fantasy backcourt. Despite Jackson’s pleas for more D, the Warriors are still the run-and-gun squad we know and love.

Klay Thompson made his Warriors debut and gave himself a chance, taking 8 shots in 19 minutes. He missed six of those shots, but remained confident, if not trigger happy.

Those debuts were nice, but Curry’s return was nicer. I thought my man would need a week or two to rest his surgically repaired ankle, but the Warriors’ point guard played the warrior card on the Clippers. Curry’s shot was off (2-of-12), but it might have been more due to lockout rust than his ankle, as he seemed to be running and cutting without limitation.

Merry Christmas to all … and to all a good night …

Blogtable: Who Has Most Wins?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Who leads the league in wins? How many? How do they do it?

Steve Aschburner: From my vantage point in Chicago, it’s only natural that I’m bullish on … Miami. Not that I’m suddenly a fan of the “super team” approach – I’m not – but in this case, after such a long, challenging season in 2010-11 to learn what works and what doesn’t work for that crew, the Heat are poised to make good on, well, let’s just start with one NBA championship. They have stars, they have continuity, they have three players who can carry the load on any given night – or on back-to-back-to-back nights – and they have something to prove. I see 56-10 as the setup for 16 more victories in the postseason.

Fran Blinebury: In the second year in coach Tom Thibodeau‘s system, with Derrick Rose reaffirming his MVP selection and with Rip Hamilton fitting into the lineup perfectly, the Bulls will reach a nifty 50.


Bulls Seek Upgrade From Bogans

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau values loyalty and defense, which explained journeyman Keith Bogans’ starting role for the team with the NBA’s best regular-season record in 2010-11. At age 30, in his eight season, Bogans started all 82 games for the first time, making Chicago’s shooting-guard spot his own by … averaging 4.4 points on 40.4 percent shooting?

OK, not exactly the numbers you’d expect from a key offensive position for a team with serious championship ambitions. But Bogans gave the Bulls’ rotation toughness, he defended hard and, on many nights, it seemed Thibodeau was fine if the veteran guard could hit a 3-pointer near the start of each half and call it a night. After all, Chicago had the league’s MVP in the backcourt alongside Bogans.

But as the Bulls prepared for their first workout Friday at the Berto Center, management pulled him off the practice floor, a source told the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson. His quick story continued:

The Bulls hold a $1.73 million team option on Bogans. … According to league sources, Bogans’ contract officially is non-guaranteed and above the league minimum. With the Bulls exploring other shooting guard options, management is being careful and preventing Bogans from sustaining an injury.

Nevertheless, Bogans, who has been working out at the Berto Center for the last week, wasn’t happy with the move, according to a source.

As much as Thibodeau values what Bogans can do, the Bulls need an upgrade at shooting guard to take some of the offensive burden off Derrick Rose and keep defenses from overloading on the point guard.

General manager Gar Forman addressed Bogans’ limbo status in a statement, saying the team had until Dec. 19 to decide what to do with Bogans.

“Keith Bogans is under contract with the Bulls and we have a December 19th option on that contract. At this time, we are exploring several options in finalizing our roster. We have always respected Keith’s professionalism and we hope to have more clarity on this situation soon.”


Yet Another Twist In Pistons’ Saga

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The finger pointing in Detroit won’t subside anytime soon.

It’s going to take someone’s departure — Rip Hamilton or John Kuester, whoever goes first, take your pick — before we get any sort of handle on what’s really going on in Mowtown.

Because as of right now, there are more conflicting reports than there is anything else emanating from pile of rubble that is this once proud franchise. Kuester has “lost the locker room,” per our very own David Aldridge of TNT and (above). That massive player revolt of the other day was actually just a perfect storm of events, highlighted by Hamilton’s one-man revolution. And at least one local scribe, Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News, asked for the players to apologize before Saturday night’s game against Utah for a stunt that others suggest never was:

They can call it whatever they want, but this was a players’ mutiny against Kuester, a decent guy but a poor leader. He’s not strong enough to be an NBA head coach and surely will be fired at some point, but the players’ power-play against a powerless coach is indefensible.

Those guys are permanently stained, unless they make a sincere move to address it. Here’s their one short-term shot: The players should take the microphone before tonight’s game against Utah at the Palace and apologize to the fans — however many are left — for poor decisions. Say they’re remorseful and they’d like to try to fix it. Then play as if their careers are at stake.

Of course, that’d require accepting some blame, and accountability sure is in limited supply these days. No, words don’t automatically heal, but the Pistons must realize they still have fans who’d like to cheer instead of boo all night.

The Pistons did knock off the Jazz with an inspired performance led by their youngsters and journeyman. Hamilton watched it all unfold in street clothes, same as he has much of this season.

The Pistons’ Player Revolt

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Things have gone from bad to worse for the Detroit Pistons after Thursday’s trade deadline.

Several Pistons missed this morning’s shootaround practice in Philadelphia in some sort of “player protest” against coach John Kuester, per the Detroit Free Press.

Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox all missed the shootaround. But that’s just the start. More from the Vince Ellis of the Free Press:

Team spokesman Cletus Lewis said Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye missed the team bus as well, but they did arrive toward the end of the media session.

Lewis said McGrady had a headache, Prince had an upset stomach and Hamilton and Wilcox missed the bus from the team hotel.

Ben Wallace also missed the shootaround. Lewis said Wallace was dealing with a family matter. Wallace has missed games and practices over the past month because of the issue.

Only Greg Monroe, Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell and DaJuan Summers were full participants in the morning shootaround.

Sources indicated that the discontent is directed at Pistons coach John Kuester, who has clashed with players repeatedly this season. The organization downplayed the absences, insisting Prince and McGrady were ill.

One source, who asked not to be identified, said he didn’t know what the next step would be, and didn’t say who organized the absences. But he said it was an organized protest, with some players deciding it was best to show up anyway.

Has it come to this for the Pistons?

Have things really gotten this bad for this Kuester, who said he will go with whoever is available for tonight’s game against the Sixers?

Maybe the players thought there was going to be some mass exodus at the trade deadline. And when that didn’t happen, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Either way, this is a disastrous start to the stretch run of the season for a Pistons team that certainly didn’t need any more distractions.

Tayshaun Staying Put?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The long-rumored Carmelo Anthony mega-trade worked out for the Knicks and Nuggets but it didn’t work out for all that were involved (from the beginning).

Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, who was once thought to be in play when the Pistons were the rumored third team in a deal, will likely stay put after Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, per the Detroit News.

Pistons boss Joe Dumars said Prince, in the final year of a deal that pays him $11.1 million, will remain with the Pistons, as long as he isn’t offered a deal he simply cannot refuse:

“I would,” Dumars said when asked if he would like Prince to return next season. “And we’ve talked about that. Tayshaun has been good here for a long time so I absolutely want to have that conversation at some point.”

Prince doesn’t think he’ll be traded.

“It was brought up that if I could go to a team where I could win, my answer was yes,” Prince said. “But at the same time, if it did not pan out, of course I would want to finish the final 25 games. I’ve been through the good times and the bad times. I never once walked in there (to Dumars’ office) and said I’ve got to go. I’ve struck through the thick and thin.”

Dumars said he has been given permission to make trades, despite the possible sale of the team soon. But it is believed he cannot make a trade for a player with a long-term contract or a high salary. He is allowed to trade for draft picks and expiring contracts.

“There are some parameters for us to make a deal,” Dumars said. “Yes, I can make a deal, but it has to fit within the parameters.”

Rip Hamilton doesn’t have the same sort of assurances as Prince. But you have to believe that if the Pistons aren’t willing to deal Prince, the chances of them moving Hamilton might just as slim.