Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Which pair of names does not belong?
Let's refer back to the list above. MJ and Scottie and Kobe and Shaq were part of dynasties. Both paired up at a reasonably young age, and stayed together for years, forming the core that led to many championships.
Thirty NBA teams are constantly trying to create a roster that will lead to a series of championships for the team, Gar Forman and John Paxson included. And for the most part, the Bulls execs have assembled that championship roster: a superstar player surrounded by a good center, and solid role players.
Just one problem: the hole at the shooting guard spot. And Rip Hamilton is not the answer.
Don't get me wrong, Rip Hamilton is a good NBA player who has had a nice long career, won an NBA Championship and is well-known as one of the most-liked players in the league. He's just not the answer for the Bulls at shooting guard.
Rip is big at 6'7", has defensive ability, can create his own shot at times and is a decent spot-up shooter from three-point range. Regular readers will know that's the kind of player I've been advocating the Bulls acquire for a long time. So with Hamilton being waived and expected to sign with the Bulls, what could be the problem?
If Rip Hamilton was ten years younger, would he be the perfect shooting guard for the Bulls?
Quite frankly, his age. Yes, Rip is one of the best conditioned players in the league. But he's 33 years old. Yes, he will be a good player for the Bulls. But Rip is no more than a temporary, two-year fix to a long-term problem.
Again, let's look at that list of players. MJ/Scottie, Kobe/Shaq. Both combinations teamed up together at a young age, and stayed together for many successful years. If the Bulls truly want to be successful, they will look to the future.
The future, two years from now: The Bulls are fresh off two highly successful seasons that included deep runs in the playoffs, but no championships. Rip Hamilton has averaged roughly 14 points a game and been a solid player, but is now 35 years old.
What do the Bulls do then? The short answer: They are back to where they started—a solid team lacking that one key player in the backcourt with Derrick.
Back to the present: For the last time, let's use the list of MJ/Scottie, Kobe/Shaq as a model for what the Bulls should do about their current shooting guard hole.
If the Bulls truly want to win, they need to acquire a young shooting guard that would play alongside Derrick for the next 10 years.
It is much more beneficial to Derrick and to the Bulls to have a young backcourt in Rose and (insert name here) together for the next decade, than to keep signing shooting guards at the end of their careers.
Names such as Arron Afflalo, Nick Young, O.J. Mayo, Jeremy Lamb of UConn or Austin Rivers of Duke would fit the bill, and become a fixture on the Bulls starting lineup for years alongside Rose, instead of a two-year temporary starter in Rip Hamilton.
In conclusion, a tandem of Rose and Rip will lead to deep playoff runs and annual heartbreak at the hands of the Miami Heat. A tandem of Rose and a young shooter will lead to multiple banners being hung in the United Center.