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I don’t know if he should start, but Rip Hamilton has shown he should definitely be finishing games

Before last night’s game against Golden State when the Pistons announced that Rip Hamilton would start, moving leading scorer (and 58 percent shooting) Ben Gordon back to the bench. The decision wasn’t a popular one if Twitter is any judge.

I won’t get into that controversy too much. There’s certainly a case to be made that Gordon has won the job. He’s been great shooting the ball and he has improved enough defensively to not be a total liability at that end of the floor. I also get why Hamilton starts despite shooting poorly overall to start the season. He has continuity with long-time teammates Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace, he’s been a better defender and passer and also not as big a turnover threat as Gordon for his career, and the Pistons probably wouldn’t mind shedding his contract, so starting him, keeping him relatively happy and trying to get his shot un-broke are all important reasons to not bench him if he’s healthy.

Hamilton’s overall numbers haven’t been good, although his great game against the Warriors helped them look healthier. But offensively in fourth quarters, he’s been great for the Pistons. Here are his fourth quarter numbers:

  • 33 points/6.6 per fourth quarter
  • 10-18 field goals/56 percent
  • 9-for-9 at the free throw line in five fourth quarters

I realize that with Hamilton only appearing in five games so far this season, we’re working with a really small sample size, but the fourth quarter numbers, along with his shooting the entire game against Golden State, show that stories of his decline continuing might be premature. His performances against Charlotte and Golden State down the stretch were a big reason the Pistons won those games. When they blew late leads against New Jersey, Oklahoma City and Chicago, a big reason they struggled to score in those fourth quarters is because it wasn’t clear who the go-to player would be. Everyone looked tentative, passive and too unselfish.

The Pistons have plenty of capable options late in games, which is a good thing, but seeing Hamilton step up and perform well in final periods so far this season has been a positive for the team and a reason that Hamilton, either as a productive Piston or as productive trade bait, shouldn’t be written off just yet.

11 Comments

  • Nov 8, 201011:37 am
    by Alan

    Reply

    Nice write-up.  With Hamilton’s game in decline and him off to a poor start to the season, we almost forget he’s still got a few games like this left in his tank.  He was huge for us and it was good to see his shots fall.  As for closing games, we’ll pretty much always see a 3-guard lineup in there(Stuckey, Hamilton, Gordon) and then Q will have to choose between 2 more (Prince, Villanueva, Monroe, Wallace).

  • Nov 8, 201011:43 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    The only player I know that shouldn’t be starting is Daye. And I’m not getting my hopes up of a Rip resurgence. He had clean open looks all night I would hope he could knock them down. Ellis and Curry are too short to guard Rip. Plus, it’s one game, and I’m not going to base anything off of one game. Seeing as how he just came off of two straight years of decline, and his first 4 games were brutal. I’m sure he mixed in a few good games last season as well, but overall he was terrible.
     
    If Rip was still any good I wouldn’t care if he got traded. I’ll take a good Rip. And the way this team has played the last two games, if Rip, Stuckey, Gordon, and CV have more good games than bad games it’s really going to make me miss Jonas. In fact I do miss Jonas. This team might have actually been able to contend for a playoff spot if they had one more decent front court player, and Jonas was that guy. Instead we have the worst starting PF in the league, and I like Daye. I just hate him at PF. I can’t believe I defended that move at the beginning. Replace Jonas with Daye and we’re probably sitting at 5-2 instead of 2-5, and that’s shocking.

  • Nov 8, 201011:51 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    “He had clean open looks all night I would hope he could knock them down.”

    He’s had clean open looks in every game, and was shooting only 36 percent on those through his first four though. So it’s progress hopefully.

  • Nov 8, 201012:03 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Alan:

    I hope he chooses Wallace a little more late in games. V did pretty well last night, but it would be nice to have a player on the floor in the fourth who doesn’t stuck at rebounding.

  • Nov 8, 201012:16 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    @Patrick,
    I hear ya.  It’s tough to criticize a player for poor rebounding fresh off a season high, but you’re right.  Even so, Charlie can create his own shot and hit big shots when it matters, so I don’t mind having him out there. 

    Wallace keeps us in so many games its tough to criticize him but he can’t hit FTs.  The hack-a-ben helped cost us the nets game. 

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  • Nov 8, 20107:15 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    the rumor mill has a Prince/Bynum for Crawford/Teague deal circulating.

    opinions?

  • Nov 8, 20108:15 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Wishful thinking on Atlanta’s part. I agree with everything Justin Rogers wrote about it earlier on MLive. There would be zero incentive for Detroit to do that, unless they had something bigger in the works and the other team was demanding Crawford and Teague for some reason I can’t begin to imagine.

  • Nov 8, 20109:15 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    @Patrick,
    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Nov 9, 20108:01 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    how about Prince, Bynum, & Wallace for Smith & Teague?

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