It has been a few days since Daequan Cook arrived for the Chicago Bulls and in those few days there have been several questions that have been raised with the most important one being whether or not Richard “Rip” Hamilton’s future is secure. This article will be the first part of a two-part piece and will point to why Hamilton should be a little nervous about his future.
First of all, it’s not a long shot to say that Cook can do basically the same thing that Hamilton does now minus the injuries and age. Those two facts alone should make Hamilton sweat. Hamilton was brought onto the team in hopes that he could still display the form he showed with the Detroit Pistons. Instead they got a 34-year-old shooter who doesn’t have the athleticism he used to. What Hamilton is now is simply a role player; a catch-and-shoot guard who cannot be heavily relied on to carry the team.
I know Hamilton has had several good games thus far this season, but so have a lot of players. Hamilton is expected to have more than a few good games and the firepower stowed away on the bench should serve as a reminder of that fact for him. How else could you explain Chicago stacking up on shooters like Cook, Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli?
If I were Hamilton I would be thinking a few things right now; first I would be thinking about my starting job and second I would think about my future. The NBA is more notorious for blowing up the benching of a player than the NFL and if Hamilton were to be benched or rather not start the media would have a field day. But it would still be ill-conceived one. Hamilton is old and at 34 it’s not a bad idea to consider reducing his minutes per game.
If I were the coach I would do just that. I would start either Cook or Belinelli and put Hamilton in as the sixth man. I would monitor his minutes and make sure that whenever he stepped onto the court he had fresh legs. Hamilton is an important player and the last thing the Bulls want to do is take advantage of his skills, overplay him while ignoring the other guards on the bench, and then deal with him if he were to get injured again.
The Bulls have a great rotation of guards and when Derrick Rose returns they would be wise to cycle them in on a set basis in order to keep the unit on the floor fresh and fast. Now for the next thought; Hamilton’s future, I know that the Chicago brass made an announcement saying that Hamilton’s future is secure but numbers don’t lie. Hamilton has three shooters lined up after him and when Rose returns it will just cause more disruption in the battle of the guards.
If I’m Hamilton I’m carefully studying who is and isn’t playing, when and for how long and playing my heart out to make sure my future is secure. But that’s just me. Hamilton may be sitting back and relaxing knowing that management has vouched for his job security. I hope that is not the case, because Chicago has a great rotation of guards and it would be a shame if Hamilton were to not take his competition seriously, and if coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t either.