Bulls Rumors: How Rip Hamilton's Injuries Will Impact Chicago's Deadline Plans

Ben ShapiroAnalyst IIIMarch 13, 2012

Richard Hamilton suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him sidelined for another month.
Richard Hamilton suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him sidelined for another month.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Richard Hamilton was supposed to be the missing piece in the Chicago Bulls' quest to win an NBA Championship. 

The Bulls already had the league MVP in point guard Derrick Rose, two tough defensive big men in Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer and a versatile, tough defender at small forward in Luol Deng. 

All that was seemingly missing was a solid shooting guard to knock down open jumpers and take advantage of all the attention that Derrick Rose would draw on defense. 

The Bulls are having another great season, and Derrick Rose is once again among the league's very best players, but Richard Hamilton has not been the player that the Bulls had hoped. 

For starters, he's been hurt. He's only appeared in 16 games and as of now, he's not expected back from a shoulder injury suffered on Monday March 5 for another month.

With Hamilton on the sidelines, the Bulls lack depth. Then again, the Bulls do own a league-best 35-9 record and they've amassed that record without getting much in the way of a contribution from Hamilton in the first place. 

Derrick Rose was smothered by the Heat's defense in the playoffs last season.
Derrick Rose was smothered by the Heat's defense in the playoffs last season.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The problem is that last season the Bulls had the best record in the league and they had the MVP in Derrick Rose, and that earned then home court through the playoffs, and none of that mattered when they squared off against a determined Miami Heat team that clamped down defensively on Rose and forced other Bulls to score points to beat them. 

The Bulls weren't able to put enough points on the board, and the offense suffered without another scoring threat at the two-guard position. 

The Bulls can't afford a repeat of last year's end of the season. Even if Hamilton has not impacted the regular season, the Bulls may need a Hamilton-like player on board for the playoffs.

Maybe that means hoping Hamilton gets healthy, but it could also mean hitting the trade market in hopes of getting more offense into the starting five. 

As recently as last Wednesday, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau expressed a contentment with the Bulls current situation regarding depth and the roster as a whole. 

"If we don't do anything, we feel very good about the people we have," Thibodeau said. "We feel depth is one of our strengths, and we have more than enough to win with." - Chicago Tribune 3/7/12 

In spite of entering the season with a defined weakness, and now in spite of a series of injuries leaving the Bulls vulnerable to the exact same set of circumstances that sent them home from the playoffs last season, the Bulls appear poised to press on without a reliable "shooter" at the shooting guard position.

Can Ronnie Brewer play a key role in the playoffs?
Can Ronnie Brewer play a key role in the playoffs?Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Neither Kyle Korver or Ronnie Brewer can inspire too much confidence, and Hamilton's string of injuries has to make the Bulls question whether he can remain healthy even when he does return.

That doesn't seem to be pushing the Bulls toward making any sort of trade to get a two-guard as the trade deadline rapidly approaches.

Sometimes the best move is not to make a move at all. The Bulls hope that's the case this season.