Rip was frustated under Flip

Rip Hamilton admitted after practice today that he's among those happy to see Flip Saunders gone. From Vince Ellis' blog:

"I had a son and that was one of the greatest times of my life so I was never actually mad or disappointed," he said. "I was disappointed sometimes with the way Flip did things. That was the most frustrating thing about it. My personal life and everything and I everything I did off the court was the greatest thing; but more than anything I was frustrated with how Flip ran things."

If my memory serves correctly, the only public beef that Rip had with Flip last year had to do with playing time. Last December, A. Sherrod Blakely wrote the following:

For those who didn't watch tonight's game, there was a moment in the second quarter where Rip Hamilton was very upset at Flip Saunders for taking him out of the game.

[...] Saunders wants to play the bench as much as possible, knowing that it'll keep the veterans fresher during the season and into the playoffs.

Rip is all for that, provided he can play more minutes than he's averaging now.

There may have been a little bit more to it -- looking back at my post on this incident, it Rip was yanked after turning the ball over twice and was apparently frustrated he wasn't being given a longer leash to find his rhythm. Either way, by the time all was said and done, Rip averaged 33.7 minutes last year, his fewest in five years.

I don't want to read too much into this -- there are countless things that happen behind closed locker room doors that fans will never hear about, so the frustration he spoke of could have stemmed from any number of things -- but if his playing time is still a concern, he's due for another frustrating year. There's been a lot of talk about Rodney Stuckey averaging 30 minutes a game this year, and those minutes have to come from somewhere.

Maybe it'll be easier to swallow now that Rip has seen Stuckey's talent, and maybe Rip more open to change after yet another disappointing finish. (For that matter, maybe Rip is like Rasheed Wallace and has an easier time taking direction from someone who actually played the game.)

Whatever the case is, it makes me uneasy to hear players complain about the old regime. After the Pistons were eliminated by the Celtics, Rip told reporters that the team needed to be more accountable. Dumping on a guy who's not around to defend himself suggests that hasn't happened yet.

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