Fluke or future? Richard Hamilton's first preseason game

Fluke or future?  Richard Hamilton's first preseason game

Anyone who watched the Bulls second preseason game of the season, the one where Richard Hamilton came in to start at shooting guard was amazed at the difference he made. 13 points on 12 shots with two turnovers is nothing special, but it's the six assists that really highlighted what a difference he made.

The whole offense moved better with Hamilton in the game. Derrick Rose faced less pressure. The Bulls had 30 assists on 39 baskets. The whole team had better looks. When all five guys on the floor were a threat to score or pass from the right spot, it made the Bulls incredibly difficult to defend.

Fluke or future? Is it enough to get past the Heat?

If Hamilton plays like this all season then Miami will not be to defend Chicago like they did last year. The era of throwing the two best perimeter defenders at Rose in a double team in every possession will officially end. It won't be an option, because the Bulls finally have someone to burn teams who try.

In one preseason game, it unfolded into the best case scenario; there's still a part of me that can't believe it that doesn't want to believe it and get my hopes up. I remember Korver throwing up 20ish points in an early [first?] preseason game last year and thinking "no one will stop this offense with Korver in it" only to find out it was fools gold. A performance that couldn't be repeated.

It feels different this time. With Korver, he had never been the type of player he looked like in that game. I was hoping that he'd become something that his previous seven years in the NBA already told me he wasn't.

With Hamilton, I'm hoping that at age 34, he's still what he was in the first nine years of his career and a bit better than the last three when he played for a losing team where he was a terrible fit. He fits perfectly into this group, and as the games go by, we'll find out how much of the last three seasons was a decline in his ability relative to a decline in his situation.

Through one preseason game, it couldn't look any better than it did. Derrick Rose scored a mere 12 points. A point total like that would typically spell disaster for Chicago in the past, but now it might spell victory. Through one game, Hamilton raised the level of the whole team with his play.

Can he do it for a season? Can he do it for a playoffs?

If he can, Derrick Rose will have the room to operate on Miami that he lacked last season. He'll have the room that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are afforded every night by playing with each other. The Bulls won't be bringing a knife to the gun fight in may/june this year.

Let's just hope it wasn't a fluke.

[random side note, if you hadn't heard, Kobe is questionable for the season opener with a torn ligament in his wrist]

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  • I really suspect that the Bulls were hoping for Hamilton above just about anybody else with the possible exception of Afflalo because they believe that he is the best fit for this team, both on the court and off.

    It is only one preseason game, but one played against an opponent playing with at least regular season intensity if not even playoff level.

    Reggie Miller(played until he was 39) and Ray Allen(still playing at 36), the 2 closest comparable players that I can think of to Hamilton both played very well into their final years. Rip seems to be extremely well conditioned as is Allen and as was Miller.

    In fact Ray Allen's FG% his last 3 years in Boston(When he was 33, 34 & 35) at the start of the year were 48%, 48%, & 49%, which by the way are higher than all other seasons in his entire career except one(2000-01) when he was 25 and shot 48%.

    So it appears for the type of game that Rip plays and the way he conditions himself that there should be no appreciable drop in his play, and in fact we might expect his stats to improve, maybe even significantly due to returning to a winning environment and being surrounded by much better players than he has in the past few years,

    Yea, it is only one game(preseason), but maybe the Bulls got this one exactly right. We certainly will find out fast enough this year.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I could easily see it turning out that way. My hope is that we see a return of his days when he played with a good team and had great efficiency. This team should play much more to his strengths.

  • As Doug says, hopefully it is not a fluke and hopefully he stays healthy. One thing is Indiana played a different kind of defense compared to what they did in the playoffs(obviously it is preseason). The crowding of two big defenders on Rose and him getting cornered in those crucial 2/3 minutes at the end of the game. How will the Bulls react to that with Rip? That's the big question.
    The biggest thing is there is no Bogans and finally you have a player at SG who can make a shot when a defender is in front of him.

    Finally, it depends on how Rip plays Wade in the playoffs. I know Wade was defended well by Bogans but the biggest issue was on offense. Wade didn't care about Bogans and was busy playing free safety. I think if Rip is at 100% during the Miami series, that's all it matters.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Hopefully Wade worked on his conditioning cause his legs are going to be tired from chasing Rip around and through screens. It should affect his offense a bit too!

  • In reply to NateTags:

    The Heat have three premier perimeter defenders, I think they'll have a good shot defensively against chicago.

  • It is quite obvious that Rip will fit into the Chicago system with Rose like water on a ducks back or something better. But what would happen now, if the Bulls had to depend on Scalabrine, Watson, and Lucas for any length of time? Are they better than the current list of waived players now becoming available from other teams? Let's give management credit for putting together a fine team!
    CJ Watson is really a fine undersized 2 guard now playing at backup pooint. On a 66 game schedule the Bulls must play several games a week--more games each week than
    an 82 game schedule. Will this require more of a challenge for the Bulls bench?
    Would it be wise for the Bulls to make Scalabrine a coach and use his player position for a power forward who is a bit more competitive?
    If Rose was out on the DL list for any length of time would the
    current backup point guards be able to keep the team competitive until Rose heals? Did the 2 exibitions games againtst Indian show that that Bulls are vulnerable with a group of reserves that cannot hold their own on the basketball court? And what free agent can
    play backup center equally as Miller and Thomas have done in previous years?
    I see teams waiving point guards, shooting guards, and power forwards better than what the Bulls have now at positions 12, 13, 14, and 15 on their bench? Hey, will management meet the challenge or ignor what could devastate a potential championship year? Or does management believe the Bulls will be injury free during the whole season?
    n better, but Chicago's problem is their depth at point guard, center, and power forward.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    CJ Watson is a PG. He's got a scorers mentality, sure, but he handles the ball well & is capable of making a great pass. He's good at defending the PG position. If he was the complete package he would be a starter in this league. But for a guy that is looking at 6-10 minutes in a playoff game, he's a great fit for this team, especially with a style that is similar to his 1st string counterpart.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    I get what you're saying and agree to a certain extent, but you could apply the same thinking to any championship caliber team in the league. If Dirk got hurt last year and missed the playoffs, would they have won it all? Probably not. If Lebron, Wade, or Bosh got hurt and missed a chunk of the playoffs, do they make it to the Finals? I think not. If Durant gets hurt and misses a huge chunk of time, are they still championship material? I don't think so.

    I agree about making Scalabrine a coach and freeing up a roster spot for another big guy who could contribute if needed, but unfortunately there's only so much money to go around for these end of the bench guys. What waived players are you suggesting are better and will play for as little as Scalabrine, Lucas, etc?

  • In reply to penwit1:

    I like Watson, Asik and Gibson. Therefore, I disagree that we have issues with depth at those positions. Two deep is perfectly fine by me—three deep is impossible to have and incredibly uneconomical. I believe The Bench Mob is still the best bench in the league. I agree that Scalabrine and Lucas can be replaced by better alternatives.

    I think it's nearly impossible to plan for Rose to be out with injury. How can you replace Rose? You can't. As long as Bulls Brass is smarter than Jerry Angelo—which I think they are—we'll be ok. Even if you don't like CJ Watson, he competes at the professional level unlike Caleb Hanie.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    I agree with you Jmax. You can but you don't want to replace your 12 & 13th men with just better players, you have to consider chemistry with players that will see little to no time. If someone gets hurt, then you sign someone or make a trade.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    I get what you are saying, but the Bulls are basically 11 deep right now. I don't think you can go any deeper than that without getting guys who don't care if they play, and can still come in effectively if you need them. Short list.

    I would like to upgrade from Lucas, but finding a 3rd string PG who expects 0 minutes without injury who could still give you anything is unlikely. Plus if Rose is hurt, then the team is screwed either way.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I have to say - I'm a bit stunned that no one has mentioned Jimmy Butler. Yeah, he's a rook, and a 30th pick at that ... but, he came from a Big East team that highly values defense, showed some poise in his 1st game minutes, and, given the schedule, is likely to be counted on for meaningful minutes during the season.

    Love Scal, and he's a guy who can give you some minutes, but he and Lucas III are little more than window dressing (knock on wood).

  • I think Ray Allen is a very fair comparison for Rip. Ray was lost out in Seattle for a little (although he was playing great when healthy & was a featured part of the offense), but then joined a championship team with Garnett & Pierce. He was the perfect fit there, & Hamilton already appears to be that here. They both play in a similar way, and keep themselves in phenomenal shape. I can easily see Hamilton aging as gracefully as Allen has.

  • And the Bulls are going to annihilate the Lakers on opening night. No Bynum, no Odom, even if Bryant plays he will be hampered.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Sunday is going to be awesome! Merry Christmas Bulls fans!

  • Hamilton fits in perfects, The Bulls just need the SG to shoot 10 to 12 shots per game, be a good defender and that's it. Boozer and Rose are the primary offensive option with Deng a great third option. Sure Mayo would be nice but he is looking for 9 mil+ a year and he would be jacking up shots in a contract year that takes away from Boozer and Rose. On another note, our three point shooting (Deng, Korver, Rose) has not looked good, hopefully our shooters get their touch back and maybe Jimmy Butler can help give that second unit some more offense if it continues to struggle.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    I agree about Butler. If he can show that he can shoot well and defend...it helps in a lot of ways.
    1. It will make Thibs to sit down Deng when the second unit is playing and give Deng some rest.
    2. It will make Korver a situational player only when they need immediate offense and it will take his defensive liabilities. Right now, the bench mob has Asik, Gibson, Brewer who are liabilities on offense.
    If Korver struggles, I think GarPax might trade him for a late pick. They can probably pick up DeShawn Stevenson who can also shoot the 3 pointer(not as good as Korver) but can defend and irritate LeBron.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I really must disagree with your second point. Asik may be a liability on offense, but Taj has been rather good on offense. He has even added a few post moves to his game this offseason which have been on display both pre-season games. Brewer always finds a way to get a few buckets as well. You just need to make sure CJ or someone is out there to run the offense as neither Taj or Brewer are really facilitaters.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    When did Taj become good and consistent on offense? I haven't seen him or Brewer being consistent. Wish your thoughts were true

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    It's his passing, ability to run the break with Derrick, & ability to make Wade respect him & chase him around that I really like about the signing. Perfect fit.

  • Got a question for everybody. The Knicks didn't scare me at all last year, but I was just thinking about their starting lineup now after a couple recent signings.
    PG Baron Davis
    SG Landry Fields (underrated)
    SF Melo
    PF Stoudemire
    C Tyson Chandler (potentially great fit with Amare)

    That's pretty tough on paper

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    So what do ya'll think about the Knicks this year now?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The knicks will be much improved, no reason they shouldnt jump right up to the 3rd seed. I can see them beating Miami or us a game or two during the season, but still think they lose to either team in a 7 game series. Will be a very tough out though.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    That starting 5 is pretty good depending on Baron's health. One thing that makes them not so scary is a lack of depth. I doubt that those guys can get through this condensed season even close to being healthy.

    Stoudemire's knees are going to fall apart. Here are there backup PF/C's: Josh Harrellson, Jared Jeffries, Chris Hunter, Jerome Jordan, and Steve Novak. Tyson Chandler has had his share of injuries as well and with no quality backups, he and Amare are going to have to play a lot of minutes and remain healthy for the Knicks to do any serious damage.

    The PG situation for the Knicks is interesting as well. Baron can be tough if he wants to play and is healthy, but I don't see them getting too far with a PG tandem of Davis & old Mike Bibby.

    All that to say, even without playing any defense, you can't take them lightly when their starters are healthy. I just have my doubts about their durability and depth, especially in this year's condensed schedule.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Tney Douglas will back up the point, he is a hell of a lot better than Bibby.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think I had them third in my conference preview. They're certainly in the next group of teams below Chicago and Miami.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Actually, I've been meaning to ask that question also. Do the Knicks have a better starting 5 than the Bulls do. They certainly have the better front court, maybe the best in the league.

    Also, after watching both Clipper/Laker preseason games I was pondering the same thought about the Clippers starting lineup vs the Bulls. It is a close call at all the positions, except at power forward where BG annihilates Bozo the Boozer.

    My guess is that if the Knicks are healthy they give the Bulls a real run for the 2 seed in the east, I see Miami running away with the #1 seed.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    ChiRy ... I'm with you ... even before Davis ... the signing of Chandler was a mighty big upgrade at a needed position - allowing Stoudemire to play his natural 4 spot.

    As he gets healthy, same thoughts about West and Indy.

  • Love the Chandler signing. I picked him up as a utility player in my fantasy league. He'll play great defense, but I don't think he has this overwhelming influence that will cause Anthony and Stoudemire to suddenly play defense for the first time in their careers. D’Antoni is still offensive minded. The media is blabbing on about how the Knicks are now a defensively proficient team.

    And of course, how healthy is Baron Davis? He's getting older too.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    He doesn't have that effect, but he will cover up a lot of mistakes on that end, & play a good pick n roll on the other with Baron. I agree though, not buying the talk out of NY on their defense, but they only have to be decent with that offense. Baron seems like he is faking the latest injury, like always. He plays when he wants to play, & it seems he wants to in NY. He was seen recently dribbling a basketball in uniform, not something you see guys with a back injury often doing.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think the biggest concern for Knicks fans is if the coach matches the talent.....they'll be good and looking at individual match ups makes them look even better. But I think the Bulls will have a better team based on talent and system. It'll be interesting to see the Knicks this year for sure. I hope they crack under the pressure :-)

  • The Knicks do look much improved and I do like their chicago area guard Iman Shumpert...plays aggressive defense and attacks the basket on offense. So I see them being the third best team in the east but don't think they have enough to overtake the Bulls or Miami. Don't sleep on the Sixers, they have several guys who can create their own shot and they play solid defense. The Hawks will take a step back. Probably the hardest team to predict will be the Celtics, if those old legs can still get it done, not sure about them, maybe a 5th seed? Teams like the Sixers, Pacers, Knicks should all move up some in the playoff slots. One thing is for certain, the East is not a joke conference anymore, there are some solid teams that can beat any of the top western teams.

  • @doug,
    hoopsworld is reporting rumor of cboozer for pgasol lakers trade...any truth to it? would this be good or bad for bulls?

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Why on earth would the Lakers do that, just to kill Kobe and their chances of getting Howard?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    i dunno crazy things happen.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I would be shocked if there is any truth to this rumor. It's a no brainer for Chicago if it were on the table, but no truth to it IMO.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    "Poopsworld" says it all.

    The ONLY reason this makes any sense is IF Pau is so hurt about the rejected-by-Fuhrer Stern trade that they HAVE to get rid of him.

    Still you'd think the Lakers could get a better deal, but they have to be able to sell to their fans that it was done for basketball reasons. At least Boozer's numbers are prettty comparable to Pau's, which will pacify 99% of the fan base.

  • Question-

    Is there any place online to watch a replay of the bulls lakers game? Or any other option?..due to previous plans which Ive tried despartely to change, I cannot watch the second half.

    Also, as a side note, I was at the UC for the Sixth Man Jam, the annual season ticker holders event and the line to meet DROSE was insane. He did stick around much longer than he had to to sign as many autographs as possible which I thought was cool of him.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I haven't gone to the autograph day since 05/06, but it was odd, I didn't even get the notice/tickets to go this year.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I gotta say, the vibe around DRose feels a lot like the vibe around some of the guys in the Jordan Era. It was that type of scene....kind of has that rock star quality... I havent seen anything like that around here in a long time. Its exciting to say the least.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    It will be on NBA.TV (renamed version of League Pass) - normally you have to pay for it, but there's a free preview until early January.

  • In reply to Sid23:

    awesome thank you very much

  • You never know the impact of a defender like Chandler until they play. He made a big difference for Nowitzki. Maybe Amare will be more aggressive on defense now. Honestly, I am scared of the Knicks. It is easy to make fun of D'Antoni. But if Amare wasn't suspended in that playoff series, they would have won against the Spurs...and he would be looked differently.
    If they keep Baron Davis, Chandler and Amare healthy for the playoffs...they have a shot of beating the Bulls and the Heat

  • I agree the Bulls should do a better job at filling out roster. Don't like lucas III or whatever his name is. I'm ok with scal since he works with both taj and omer in practices. When i see the knicks, Magic or others, they fill up their rosters with potential young players at end of roster and they go 14 to 15 deep. Like yesterday, I was impressed with some of the rookies the Magic have like Justin Harper. Please stop this jannero pargo-john lucas end of bench thing......at least have one young project player if your going to do that.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    I do like Lucas III, only because he is always willing to sign a team friendly contract, one with a TO or non guaranteed year. I hope he never plays, but I like him on the bench.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Honestly, why is everybody against JLIII? He probably fits into the character of the team...probably is smart. The only thing is he missed those crucial free throws last year but that's a one time thing. Otherwise, he might be the best 3rd string PG if you consider finances and basketball skills as a whole. And, as you say they can cut him whenever they want.
    I guess for some people the other side of the grass is always green.

  • I can't understand why we brought Brian Scalabrine and John Lucas III back. Both these guys are wasting two roster spots which could be used for young players with potential like Manny Harris (waived today by Cleveland), Gani Lawal (waived by SA), Greg Smith (if/when waived by Houston), Willie Warren (waived by LAC), Julyan Stone and Cory Higgins (if/when waived by Denver) and Jerome Dyson (if/when waived ny NOLA). If management loves Scal so much, why don’t they bring him back as an assistant coach?

    We definitely need another big and more shooting. Joel Przybilla, Nenad Krstic, Solomon Jones, Dan Gadzuric, Kyrylo Fesenko, Francisco Elson, Alexis Ajinca, Earl Barron or Leon Powe are all better options than Scalabrine. Since I understand we still need another shooter, I'd love if we could add Michael Redd (he could be a low risk/high reward player coming off the bench), Sasha Vujacic (a 39.5% career shooter from three point range and a big guard at 6'7") or Bostjan Nachbar (preferably in that order).

    Chris Quinn, Antonio Daniels or Carlos Arroyo would be an upgrade and a much better option than Lucas III (whom I'll never forgive for missing the two free throws that cost us the Denver game last season).

  • In reply to Shaolin66:

    I always love these posts. "Scurb A, Scrub B and Scrub C would be better 12th and 13th men than the Scrub D and Scrub E the Bulls have on their roster".

    Or the always popular "we could have young players with potential"- when we already have a roster full of young players who need minutes.

    Pretty much every guy listed here is looking for a place they can actually play- as Doug pointed out earlier, most guys aren't looking for a job where they will sit and never play, barring a few injuries.

    If you really think there's a difference between Scal and let's say Elson, why hasn't ANY team picked up Elson?

    Those guys could sign with any NBA team for the minimum and never play, that's not what they want. They'd rather go to Europe to make more than the NBA minimum and actually get to play. And who can blame them?

  • I agree Shaolin66, I rather have Arroyo as our backup PG than Lucas.
    Arroyo is a starter or at least comes off the bench for Puerto Rico.
    Also Fenenko is a young Ukranian 7'1" 280 and only 24. Would be nice to sign these 2 international players to round out out roster.

    It is very disheartening that the Lakers, Mavs, Heat, Knicks, Boston, etc get vets who sign for the minimum just to have a shot at a ring and we can't get those players in Chicago!!!!

    Why is the reason for that you think guys?
    Is Thib's such a control freak players are scared of having to work their butts off and choose not to consider coming to the Bulls?
    As a vet with size I'd love Prizbilla over here as well.
    Losing Kurt Thomas really hurt us, he was huge for us last year and good point Doug about Boozer in game 1 of the preseason about how Kurt is older, over weight, less athletic etc but gave us great defense and toughness which Boozer needs to do for us...no excuse for him being lazy and not playing defense it hurts the whole team!

  • In reply to smiley:

    The problem is though, it's not your backup PG, it's your 3rd string. This guy's not getting ANY playing time unless there is an injury, and even then would only get about 10 minutes or so. If there is a significant injury, they would for sure make a deal of some kind. But for a guy that won't even be on the active roster most of the time, you're looking at a lot more than just talent or upside.

    The Bulls don't need 3 centers right now. There is no one out there now willing to sign for the min that is head & shoulders above someone that will still be out there in the middle of the season. The Bulls are deeper than all those teams you mentioned and would offer no minutes unless an injury. I wouldn't be surprised if management wanted to see as much of Asik as possible too, without another low upside vet eating into his minutes. They tried to bring (Big) Sexy back, but players like him are rare -- one's that can sit half of the season & come in on a moments notice & help your team. Asik will get a lot more minutes this year as a result though, and that's a very good thing. In a pinch, Taj can play moderate minutes at the 5, and in today's NBA there are not a lot of true centers that can make them pay.

    I doubt Thibs has much to do with guys not wanting to come here. If you want to win, you want to play for a guy like him or a guy like Popovich. Winning is not paramount to a lot of these guys however, despite what they always say.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The Bulls are in no position to develop 3rd stringers. Thibs knows JL3 and Scal from years ago....they know him and I bet are excellent help to Thibs in practice etc. That really does make a difference....and regardless of who the 13th, 14th and 15th players would be on the bench...if we need to play them we are in trouble so who cares?

  • In reply to bullswin60606:

    I agree completely

  • In reply to smiley:

    "It is very disheartening that the Lakers, Mavs, Heat, Knicks, Boston, etc get vets who sign for the minimum just to have a shot at a ring and we can't get those players in Chicago!!!!"

    Just curious, can you name one halfway-decent veteran who signed to be 11th man on any of those teams?

    There is not a single player I can think of right now that the Bulls can sign for the veteran minimum who would be a member of the 10-man rotation.

    It makes zero sense to try and fill 3rd-string spots right now... you wait until the actual injury occurs and see what position you actually need to fill. You may have 3 big men get hurt so you need 3 bigs- what good does signing Arroyo over Lucas do if that's what happens?

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