Richard Hamilton finally returned from injury against the Rockets, playing with a rather bulky looking shoulder pad on his right arm. He didn't play particularly well. He'll need time to shake off the rust, but more importantly, the Bulls will need time to learn to play with Rip too.
The Chicago Bulls haven't had much health this year. They've had to juggle the roster around and have gone to the third string PG for significant minutes. The Bulls have mostly played 13 deep this season with even their 11-13 men playing fairly significant roles for the team.
As they approach the playoffs, roles are going to change as are the rotations on the court at any given time. Guys who were comfortable playing big minutes with each other will need to get comfortable playing with other guys. Guys who played a big role will go back to waving towels. Shots will shift from some players to others, and the offensive and defensive balance will be altered.
Obviously we all like Derrick Rose shooting more than John Lucas and C.J. Watson. We like him taking over rather than watching Luol Deng try to create off the dribble in a key situation. The offense will be vastly improved with Rose's return. There's no doubt that the Bulls desperately need him to win a title.
Hamilton is another story. He's not necessarily conclusively better than Brewer or Korver. He probably is, but he doesn't have the chemistry with his teammates that those guys have. He's a more versatile scorer and creator, but he's less efficient than both of the other guys and while he's a solid fundamental defender, he's no Ronnie Brewer on that side of the ball.
Assuming his body holds up, he'll take more shots per minute than the guys he's replacing at lower efficiency, but he'll also loosen up the defense with his movement and create more quality looks with his passing. Rip Hamilton can do a lot to help this team, but it won't be automatic. It will take some time for him to get used to playing and his teammates to get used to playing with him.
Unfortunately, the Bulls don't have much time, and the balance will be upset again when Rose comes back and the pecking order changes once more. Chicago still holds a tenuous grip on the #1 seed in the east, but how far they can go will depend how quickly they can build that automatic trust. How quickly can they reshuffle the deck and come up with four aces?
Hopefully Derrick can return soon, because when he does, it's still going to take some time for Chicago to get on the same page and play their best ball. A healthy Bulls team can win a title this year, but only if they're in peak form and on the same page. They still have a chance to get to that point, but the window is shrinking.