Hamilton Finally Helping Chicago Transcend
We all know what Richard Hamilton was brought to Chicago to do. We also know how, for the majority of this past season, he wasn’t able to stay on the floor long enough to do it.
Lately, however, Hamilton has shown bright flashes of how valuable he could be to the Bulls in the playoffs. He’s scored over 20 points three times in the last seven games, averaging 15.5 ppg over that span, and that’s exactly the kind of thing he’ll be expected to do now that Derrick Rose is back in the rotation and the team heads for the postseason as the likely top seed in the East.
“My biggest thing is just getting to my spots,” Hamilton said about his recent success on the offensive end. “I know my shots will eventually fall, but it takes time, just on the simple fact that they don’t need me to score like that every night. We’ve got plenty of guys that know how to put the ball in the hole, so my job is different night-in and night-out.
“I’ve been around the league long enough to say, alright, you know what? I don’t have to score just to stay on the floor. I don’t have to score to make my teammates better. And when I bring that to the game it just allows everyone in the locker room to know that sometimes you don’t have to score to help your teammates win when you’ve got a lot of people that can do the same thing.”
As Rose continues to heal and get back into a rhythm, Hamilton’s scoring will likely drop off a bit, perhaps closer to his 12 ppg season average, but as Hamilton himself points out, a healthy Rose could actually create more opportunities for him and everyone else on the team.
“Derrick does a great job pushing the ball, and a lot of times when he pushes, everybody’s looking at him. So it’s easy to get on a wing and try to push it up and try to get an easy basket, because a lot of teams just focus on him coming down the break.”
Rose’s recent return in a win against the Dallas Mavericks wasn’t a vintage performance (if anything a kid that young can be considered vintage), but just getting out there and playing after a frustrating injury can oftentimes be enough to inspire the rest of the team, as Hamilton explained to his young teammate. He knows from experience; he went through it himself when he returned to the starting lineup three weeks ago.
“The one thing I told [Rose] before the game, I said, ‘Your presence is going to make a big difference, in everything we do,’ and I feel as though it was tonight, just him being out on the floor, regardless of if he was scoring, passing, whatever but just his presence made a big difference for us.”
Now, both Rose and Hamilton look to make big differences heading into what should be an exciting and hotly-contested Eastern Conference playoffs. Hamilton may have missed nearly two-thirds of Chicago’s games this year, but he’s ready to roll when it counts.
He laughed when asked if he’d come to this team because he wouldn’t need to take on as big as role as he’d had to in the past with Detroit. That had nothing to do with it, he said.
“No, just seeing an opportunity to go in and win another championship,” Hamilton chuckled.
That was always the plan. We’ve always known it; we just didn’t know if it would work. Later this week we’ll start to see an answer, and by the end of June we’ll know for sure.