When asked if Rip Hamilton would miss the rest of the season, Tom Thibodeau hedged in such a way to indicate that it was a significant possibility. Given that Hamilton was kind of a train wreck anyway and Marco Belinelli has been better, there's at least some part of me that has to wonder if Hamilton was requested to stay away or if he's really hurt.
Back injuries can be tricky, and the Bulls have certainly gone Bill Belichik style when it comes to obfuscating and hiding injurie, so we'll never know how bad Rip's back really is. However, it feels like the Bulls are better off with Hamilton gone and tweaking your back typically wouldn't be something you'd expect to be a season ender (granted there are many significant back problems that could be).
If so, Hamilton will have played his last game as a Bull and been a fairly large disappointment overall. He was missed nearly 50% of his games and was never really able to contribute much to the team. Fans, such as myself, have called for his benching most of this season while he did play. The best thing about the Hamilton signing is that it wasn't a Jason Richardson signing.
For all the ripping on the front office for choosing Hamilton, Jason Richardson was among the favorites for Bulls fans to sign, and we'd be on the hook for him for another couple seasons still. Important to remember when playing imaginary GM is that fans typically only live with their decisions in the moment and not the contract long consequences of the bad decisions they would have made.
If the Bulls haven't told Hamilton to stay away they probably should have. An ideal scenario would have been to bring him off the bench just when needed in a small role. Let Belinelli start and play 35 minutes a night, but have Hamilton available for 10-15 minutes here and there as a reserve. He might do well against scrubs that fall for his veteran moves. His low efficiency shooting style may have worked better with a bench lacking any offensive firepower.
That said, I doubt we see Rip back, nor do I think we particularly want to.
Welcome back Malcom Thomas
Thomas officially signed his 10 day contract that was reported a couple of days ago. If you don't remember him, he was a standout in summer league a couple years ago and had a nice preseason. There was some thought he'd have an outside shot of making the team, but there wasn't really room on the roster for him.
He's bounced around as a fringe player with the Spurs and Warriors the past couple of years as well as playing in the D-League. He's only appeared in a few games and hasn't yet had a notable impact in any of them. That said, I'm willing to try five minutes of Malcolm Thomas and see what happens if Taj Gibson remains out.
Good news on the injury front?
Reportedly, Taj Gibson is feeling recovered from his sprained knee and will likely give it ago on Thursday. Kirk Hinrich also was said to have a nice practice and also has an excellent shot to return Thursday.
Nothing's changed with Derrick Rose. His last word is that he's all there physically and just needs to get there mentally. I think you get their mentally by playing in games, and if he's truly all there physically it's ridiculous he's sitting out to get his head straight. You don't cure a phobia by avoiding what you're afraid of, you cure it by exposure. This is common sense.
If he's not there physically, of course, get yourself right. However, Derrick Rose himself says he's there, so at this point Rose is bringing the weak sauce. Hate me all you want for pointing it out. I still love Rose, but he's either not getting his point across clearly about the state of his health, or needs to get back on the court.
Bulls reviewed video to confirm they were screwed by the league
The Bulls went and reviewed every angle of Joakim Noah's final shot and confirmed that no official called goaltending. The call on the floor appears to be a made basket and was only switched to goal tending due to protesting of the Nuggets bench and to allow the review. There's no official who signals goal tending on the shot which makes the review illegal.
It's probably not the most disgraceful call the league has ever made (eh Kings fans?), but it's pretty aggravating one all the same. As I noted though, the impact is more or less negligible. The Bulls just need to not finish eighth and other than that their playoff seeding is mostly irrelevant. The only relevance will be whether or not Rose comes back for the playoffs.
Even then, unless LeBron's knee explodes in a fiery inferno from some unknown side effect of popping steroids and HGH the playoffs aren't going to matter much anyway. No one is beating Miami. I would have taken the Heat over the field early in the season when their competition looked like it might be tougher, now it looks like a joke. Miami's going to walk away with the title this season.