The case against Rip Hamilton

Mike Riggs Contributor
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In his spare time, Gautham Nagesh, Michigander and NBA fanatic, makes the case against Detroit Piston Rip Hamilton over at postbourgie:

Rip unfortunately falls into that category of players that just don’t possess the internal fortitude to produce when the game is on the line. For the first three quarters he’s a relatively productive scorer from 15-20 feet, provided you design your offense around him and let him shoot incessantly. His passing and handle have improved over the years and he’s even picked up his man-to-man defense. But at the end of the day he’s a shooting guard without much shooting range. He can’t create his own shot and he folds like a house of cards in the fourth quarter. That’s how Chauncey Billups became Mr. Big Shot. Somehow had to step up when Rip pulled his nightly disappearing act.

But I’ve got Chris Webber’s jersey hanging on my wall, so it’s not like the only thing I care about how clutch a player is. I’ve just never thought Rip was any better than a marginal player at a position where it’s easy to find a star. When the Pistons traded for him, Rip was rail-thin swingman without 3-point range who shot less than 45% from the field. Over the years he upped his percentages and expanded his game while the Pistons enjoyed an extended run of success in both the regular season and playoffs. At this point I’ve grudgingly come to respect his approach to the game, conditioning and willingness to put in the work necessary to score 20 points a night in the NBA, which is no easy feat. But I will never back down from my claim that an upgrade at shooting guard was the only thing that stood between the Pistons and multiple championships this decade.