Friday, November 23rd, 2012 at 9:30 am  |  11 responses

Tom Thibodeau Benching Richard Hamilton at Crunch Time

Rip Hamilton is doing his best to remain diplomatic about his playing time in the fourth quarter, or lack thereof. But it’s clear that he’s frustrated by Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau keeping him glued to the bench at winning time, especially during the team’s current three-game losing streak (the first time such a slide has occurred under Thibs.) Per the Sun-Times: “Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton put in some heavy minutes late Wednesday night. Unfortunately for Hamilton, they were spent with the media as he tried to explain why he has been on the bench in the fourth quarter lately. ‘Like I always say, whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do,’ Hamilton said after the 93-89 loss to the Rockets. ‘I’m just trying to stay positive, just trying to get better every day.’ Hamilton said all the right things, but his body language in the huddle late in the game was that of a frustrated player. Even more so on Sunday night in Portland. Hamilton seemed to have a problem with shooting 7-for-10 from the field but only getting 22 minutes, none in crunch time. ‘One thing you have to do is just cheer for the guy that’s out there,’ Hamilton said. ‘So you just try to stay positive and hope that we get the win.’ [...] ‘You’re going with the group that’s playing well at that particular time,’ Thibodeau said. ‘It’s not about individuals; it’s about the team. [Houston] was a tough team to cover defensively, so I thought Taj [Gibson] and Jimmy [Butler] came in and got us going in the right direction.’ Hamilton was only 2-for-10 against the Rockets, but at the same time, he’s also a player who has a history of making big shots, not only in his college days with Connecticut but also with the Pistons. When that was pointed out to Hamilton, he laughed and said, ‘When I came, it was one of those things where whatever they need from me, I’m going to do. I didn’t want to get caught up in anything else.’ In other words, he didn’t want a repetition of his last season with the Pistons and his cold war with then-coach John Kuester. The relationship between Hamilton and Kuester had deteriorated to such an extent that Hamilton reportedly blew up in practice and got inches from Kuester’s face during a heated argument. Obviously, the respect level for Thibodeau is much higher, so whether he’s frustrated or not, Hamilton is going to do his best to hide it publicly.”

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  • Caboose

    Can we stop suggesting that Thibs is the best coach in the league? Top 10, definitely. Top 5, maybe.

  • Slick Ric

    As a Bulls fan I knew he was never the best, his in-game adjustments arent good but his system on defense is still tremendous.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Never understood why they went after Rip Hamilton as Rose’s sidekick in the backcourt in the 1st place.

  • spit hot fiyah

    is rip still wearing the mask? his career is mf doomed.

  • LeroyShonuff

    As a Bulls fan, that has always puzzled me. OJ Mayo always made more sense to me. Their contracts are virtually the same anyway

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    OJ Mayo was the best option to me that summer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I mean what other options were there? He was the best.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Rip was the best? At this point in his career? They waited and made no moves besides letting Keith Bogans go and the best they could do is sign Rip only after the Pistons let him go. If Detroit had never let him go, they probably wouldn’t have done anything and Rose’s help would have been Ronnie Brewer. It seems like they’re thinking that their defense and Rose’s brilliance on offense is enough and it’s not. I figured they would have seen that after Miami took them apart and bottled up Rose tiring him out to the point where his shots were consistently short. An aging guard like Rip wasn’t the answer. Jason Richardson and Arron Afflalo were both available and the Bulls made no effort to go after them to the best of my knowledge. Two guards who can score and defend.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    Rip was relatively cheap but most importantly he was short term. I think the reason they didn’t trade for mayo, or courtney lee, or brandon rush, is because the were not willing to lock up one of these guys in a 4 year deal. I’m not saying I agree with it but if their plans were to get a guy for 2 years then Rip was clearly the best option

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    top 5 Defense obviously…as far as offense goes? He writes up great inbound plays…that’s about it..

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    If they just wanted a guy for 2 years, I can see that. I was just surprised that they made no effort to try to get one of the younger guys to come in at a lower price to play for one of the best teams in the league capable of contending for a championship.