A few years after I graduated high school I had finally saved enough money to replace the dilapidated four cylinders I called “my car”. Blame it on sentimentality but I begrudgingly made the switch to the new ride after both nostalgia and loyalty weighed on my conscious and gave way to practicality. The old tin was reliable and laden with memories but the switch needed to be made.
Welcome to the world of the Detroit Pistons. Detroit has a similar decision to make in when it comes to replacing their longtime star and team captain Richard Hamilton.
Richard Hamilton has delivered an NBA championship, a trio of All-Star appearances, and handful of deep playoff runs to the Motor City, but behind Hamilton lurks Ben Gordon who comes off the first year of his freshly inked $55 million dollar five-year contract.
Detroit will ultimately make the switch to featuring Gordon as their headlining star and bumping Hamilton to a reserve role, but the new burning question is when? When will general manager Joe Dumars pull the plug on the 32-year-old Hamilton and pass the torch to Gordon?
Expect Detroit to answer that question this year. Following a dismal ’09-’10 season that handed them their worst record since 1994, it’s time for the Pistons to make the transition to a backcourt without Hamilton.
Both players are proven champions winning titles at Connecticut, Hamilton in 1999 and Gordon five years later in 2004. Both players bring elite level skills to the team along with abundant athleticism.
If the Pistons falter again this year look for Dumars to deal Hamilton to a contender thus allowing Gordon to have unlimited offensive looks playing alongside backcourt mate Rodney Stuckey. Last season Gordon attempted a career low 11.3 field goals per game, leading to a dismal scoring output that had Detroit fans scratching their heads. Without fellow Uconn great Richard Hamilton, Gordon can return to the form that heralded him as one of the game’s best offensive players.
A similar struggle over playing time appears to be on the horizon in New York....