Chicago Bulls Rumors: Richard Hamilton to Chicago Ideal for Both Sides
That's easier said then done, however, as the Bulls looked like they ready to run away in an easy Conference Finals victory last year following a blowout win in Game 1, when Chris Bosh was the only Heat player that could get anything going.
The Bulls won that game by 17 points, thanks in part to stingy defense that allowed only 53 points from everyone not named Chris Bosh.
It did appear to be going that way up until the Heat brought back Udonis Haslem, played an even stingier defense and placed LeBron James on Derrick Rose. Injured or not, Rose wasn't getting past James, and it led to the reigning MVP shooting nine percent in the fourth quarter when he was defended by the winner of the previous two MVPs.
Rose was unable to find any rhythm, and Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng weren't providing much offensive support, either. It resulted in the Heat dominating the fourth quarter and going on to win the next four games to set up a date with the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.
The MVP who dominated throughout the regular season and first two series was brought back down to Earth as he shot 35 percent in the series while taking 44 more shots than Deng, averaging a little less than seven assists per game.
Derrick was a different player, and it came as a result of the offensive ineptitude of the role-players that he thought he could rely on.
Boozer and Deng had been consistent all season long on offense, but they came up short on both sides. Boozer in particular failed to put up a strong offensive output, while struggling on defense and allowing Bosh to have two 30-point games.
Bosh had three 30-point games all year.
The second after Game 5 ended, following an unbelievable Heat comeback, the Bulls' front office knew that there were flaws that had to be addressed in order to come back next year and beat Miami (or whichever team was denying them entrance to the NBA Finals).
Fortunately for them, defense was not even close to the issue, as it would be the lack of a reliable second option that would end up resulting in the team's ultimate failure and untimely ending.
The Heat recognized that the Bulls had no reliable scorers outside of Rose, and it allowed a player like LeBron James to defend him rather than allowing Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby to do so. If the Bulls were able to have that second option to draw some attention away from Rose, they wouldn't have lost the most important series in over a decade in only five games, with each and every one of those losses being completely winnable.
Luckily for Chicago, the free-agency class was jam-packed with perimeter threats.
Jamal Crawford, Jason Richardson and Arron Afflalo all provided possible options to become the team's next starting shooting guard. I say shooting guard because that's where the offense was weakest, as Keith Bogans provided little to nothing other than strong defense, which resulted in Dwyane Wade struggling for the most part.
There's enough defense on this team to go around. Even with an offensive threat starting, the team would still have Bogans and Ronnie Brewer off the bench to support the perimeter defense when defending the likes of James and Wade.
He had spent the past nine seasons with the Pistons and played a huge role on the team that upset the Los Angeles Lakers and won a title in 2004. Hamilton has long been one of the league's most consistent shooters and will now become the Bulls' starting shooting guard for next season.
Hamilton may be 33 years old and certainly playing on tired legs (that style of play will wear you out), but he remains a formidable mid-range threat that can greatly assist a Bulls team that's looking for any answer towards a second option.
With Hamilton now on the team, he can at least add another distraction rather than allowing a defender like Wade to sag off of his assignment and then assist in a double-team elsewhere.
The best part of the signing is Hamilton's style of play, which usually requires him running around the court for the entire possession. It's extremely similar to Ray Allen, who weaves in and out of traffic as a means to lose his defender before spotting up and hitting an open shot as a result of his assignment being picked somewhere in the madness of attempting to follow him through numerous players.
The only difference is that Allen shoots threes and Hamilton shoots twos, which isn't much of a help to a Bulls team that could still use the assistance from beyond the arc after a dismal showing from Kyle Korver.
Either way, adding Hamilton is a tremendous positive, as it gives the Bulls an extremely consistent and reliable source of offense outside of Rose.
Not only does the deal obviously benefit the Bulls, but it also proves to be beneficiary to the Detroit Pistons.
It's tough to make an argument toward that when considering that Hamilton has been one of the team's most consistent players, but you have to take notice of what the Pistons are attempting to convey by waiving Hamilton and possibly replacing him with either Ben Gordon, restricted free agent Rodney Stuckey or a possible free agent.
The Pistons are attempting to finally start anew, rather than keeping to their old ways. Despite still having three players from those historic championship runs (Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace), the team is now looking in a new direction by building around the great amount of young talent that they currently possess.
By drafting center Greg Monroe last year, continuing to stay committed to Austin Daye's development, recently drafting point guard Brandon Knight and re-signing Jonas Jerebko, it's obvious that the Pistons are in their rebuilding stage. They're going to start building around their young talent by featuring Knight as the starter and Jerebeko and Monroe in the projected starting front court.
Detroit still has Ben Wallace, who'll appropriately be on the bench, and Tayshaun Prince, who is still an unbelievably consistent player on both sides of the ball, but the focus of the team will be mainly centered around the development of players like Knight, Jerebko and Monroe. All three of those players have a tremendous amount of upside to them, and the Pistons are prepared to do whatever it takes to help them progress as eventual stars.
Losing Hamilton was a great start, especially after the poor showing from last year, when he averaged 14 points per game on 40 percent from the field.
The poor shooting percentage came a year after Hamilton shot just 43 percent, both percentages being far lower than his career 45 percent shooting from the field overall.
In a swap between division rivals, both teams come out feeling better about their future. The Bulls have their shooting guard to help contend, and the Pistons have the focus on their young talent to possibly contend in the future.
All is right in the Central Division, once again.
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