Coach: Addition of Rip is Mixed Bag
Adding Rip: For better and worse?
While everyone is busy wondering how the league can deny one trade to a major market team with a long illustrious history but approve a different trade to a team in the same major market with a long unremarkable history, the team with the best record in the league last year made a significant move in acquiring Rip Hamilton. Whether the move brings the Bulls any closer to a championship is debatable.
If the move ends up being a positive, it seems unlikely the benefits will be apparent early in the season. Hamilton brings a unique set of skills that are not all that easy to integrate into Chicago’s personnel or standard offensive attack.
In order for Hamilton to be integrated into the Bulls offense, they will need to run stuff for him. He is a player that has historically performed well as an primary offensive option. He is most effective when he is using screening action to fade and curl his way into shots, putting pressure on his defender and stretching their screen protectors.
While in a vacuum this seems like a positive addition that makes the Bulls’ halfcourt offense harder to guard, the problem may become that the actions that benefit Hamilton tend to lock-up the floor and prevent open driving lanes for a premium penetrator like Derrick Rose. These Hamilton cuts will change driving lanes and likely force Rose to be more selective with his shooting.
Is this really what Chicago wants offensively? Hamilton is not the shooter he was a few years ago, and
Of course, the other side of that argument is that this kind of forced discipline may help with Rose’s overall development and serve to extend his career as he starts to engage in new types of offensive systems. This theory depends largely on how the two interact as backcourt mates out on the floor.
If Hamilton can accept a reduced role and still be effective, the defining test of this acquisition may be how the Miami HEAT defends Chicago in the halfcourt. Which player will be chasing Hamilton around screens and can the Bulls use Hamilton on the strong side and Rose on the weakside to stretch Miami’s loaded pressure via ball reversal?
It is entirely possible this will be a team that loses more games than they did last year, but is more playoff ready as well. Only time will tell.
Chris Paul puts the D in Clippers
Visions of alley-oops and pick & rolls featuring Chris Paul and both Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan are dancing through the heads of many an NBA fan. There is little doubt the other Los Angeles team will be exhilarating to watch on offense, even if it becomes a little predictable.
However, the real difference for the Clippers when they acquired CP3 is on the defensive end, and it all happens at the point of attack. While nearly every decent point guard manages their team offensively, Chris Paul not only makes them immensely more efficient on that end but also orchestrates the way they play defensively.
One of Paul’s greatest assets is the ability to understand what the opponent is looking for, and then recognize the way to influence them into less than optimal operational areas. Last season, Griffin and Jordan had to clean up messes left by poor perimeter defenders. This year, expect Griffin and Jordan’s block totals to go down, but their improvement in defensive efficiency as a team may go through the roof. Paul’s job will be to prevent the offense from initiating in its most successful spots on the floor. In a game of defenders with size and skill, every inch out of position a guy like Paul can push the offense becomes nearly insurmountable at the back end of a set play or quick hitter.
That difference will begin and end with Chris Paul – and that is why he was so valued by the entire city of Los Angeles, no matter which team we’re talking about.
Have questions for Coach Macri? Be sure and drop by HOOPSWORLD on Tuesdays at 11AM Eastern for the Coach’s weekly basketball chat! You can also follow Coach Macri on Twitter @CoachMacri.
Each week, HOOPSWORLD NBA analyst and coach Anthony Macri will open his notebook and offer an assortment of observations on games, players, and teams from throughout the league. Coach Macri serves as a player development consultant for the Pro Training Center and Coach David Thorpe, working with a variety of NBA players on their skills and game understanding and serves as an assistant coach at Paul VI Catholic High School (Fairfax, VA), currently ranked in the top 25 in the country by USA Today. The Coach’s Notebook appears on HOOPSWORLD every Thursday.