Rip Hamilton has seen his role dramatically change in Detroit. He was once the guy run off multiple screens every possession to get him a mid-range jumper. The heart of the offense. Now he most often a decoy who plays fewer minutes every month it seems. Now Ben Gordon is starting and Hamilton is coming off the bench.
All that is not sitting well with Hamilton. Which may have something to do with the “upset stomach” that caused him to miss a Pistons practice Saturday and game Sunday.
All of which has led some Pistons to think Hamilton has quit on the team, the Detroit News reports.
“He quit on us,” one team source said. Another team source said Hamilton is acting out of emotion and should adjust.
“If I need to have a long talk with him, I will,” Dumars said Monday on WDFN. “I’ll see how Rip is doing tomorrow when he gets in here. Rip’s been good for me.”
But after a shoot around on Tuesday Hamilton said he is fully engaged with the team and is hurt by the allegations, according to tweets from Chris Iott, Pistons beat writer for MLive.com.
Dumars has been shopping Hamilton around for a while but a combination of things has slowed down offers coming in. One is Hamilton’s play — the last two seasons his shooting percentage has fallen down to just above 40 percent and he is just not the same scoring threat. Combine that with a big contract — Hamilton is getting paid $12.5 million this season and next — and the uncertainty of a Pistons team that is up for sale and other teams are not jumping in to get him.
That may change — next season he would be an expiring contract (his 2012-13 year is not guaranteed) — but it may be this summer before teams jump in. With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement looming some teams are more hesitant to take on big deals until they see the details.
The bottom line is Hamilton is not likely going anywhere soon. So if he has quit on the team it’s going to be a long next four months.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.