It's nice to have a short memory but let's not forget the contributions Rip has made to the organization, as well as his own achievements:
There have been many rumors and much speculation regarding Rip this season. People see him as a "rich cry baby" who is rapidly declining and throwing a wrench in the works of the Pistons plans and causing a mutiny against the coach over a personal vendetta. I don't feel like our team captain getting a fair shake. He hasn't exactly acted with humility but given his circumstances I can't really blame him.
-6 ECF appearances
-3 time All-Star
-Lead the Pistons in scoring ALL 9 SEASONS
-6th on the Pistons all-time scoring list
-One of seven players in Pistons history to score 10,000 points
Seriously, check out his bio page on nba.com. It's ridiculous. I want to make sure that I note that he did most of this over 6 seasons making less than Ben Gordon. There is no doubt he has been a franchise cornerstone on a bargain budget for the better part of the last decade. He cares about the city. He loves the city.
"I love the city of Detroit. When I came here from Day 1, this is somewhere that I wanted to retire. When I got the opportunity to play in the playoffs for the first time, got the opportunity to win a championship, I always felt this is where I wanted to be." -MLive
The guy gives back, too. He's at schools motivating kids, soup kitchens, passing out turkey, shopping sprees, etc.
With all of that said, here's my beef: RIP AIN'T DEAD! I'm seeing a different story than a rapidly declining player on a bloated contract throwing a hissy fit.
First of all, the decline has many extrinsic factors that are not even being addressed with regard to the effect on Hamilton's play. Chauncey's gone and Stuckey is nowhere near the PG Rip is used or one he can be effective with. Iverson. Most important, though, two shitty coaches have been running the show for the last 3 seasons and have been "running plays" that don't play to Rip's style. Rip must be in motion to be effective. What sets him apart from other players is his speed and length. We all know he was murder coming off of screens and curling on the wing. Those plays are rarely called for him now, maybe one a game. They try to play him at small forward which has him giving up his asset of height and guarding bigger players. His game has been majorly stifled, but here's the killer-- HE STILL LED THE TEAM IN SCORING THE PAST TWO SEASONS.
My second point is an elaboration on the coaching situation. Until very recently it did not appear the Pistons were legitimately running an offense. I think we all know MCIAFI. I think we can just move right into why the hell Jod didn't invest in an established head coach. Any personnel problems fall under his jurisdiction. They were out there. He didn't want to spend the money. Teams don't make it very far in the playoffs without a good coach despite having good players (see: Heat, Miami). I don't think Kuester is much of an upgrade over Curry, though it's not harder to have more experience than absolutely none. Still, by NBA standards he's sub-par and under qualified.
That brings me to my third point: Hamilton v. Kuester. A lot has been said about what did or didn't go down. I don't really care what Hamilton said. Given all the crap going on above I would probably blow up, too. What justification can you come up with for benching your leading scorer and team captain for 2 months. He didn't say he was sorry? I could see a couple games, but that amount of time is ridiculous. It wasn't said through the media like some drama queens might do. Tayshaun blasted the coach to the media. No one is accusing him of orchestrating a mutiny. It was said in a closed practice. Get over it.. So Kuester goes to the lengths of keeping Rip on the bench when the Pistons only dress 9 guys, catches hell from Jod for it, the very next game plays Rip and says it's because they only dressed 9 guys, and I'm supposed to believe he's not as petty as Rip? I'm not about to buy into the heresay. I know what Rip has done for the team. What has Kuester done?
Finally, as far as the Cleveland buyout goes I will first refer to the quote above. Dude loves Detroit. Keep in mind all of the accolades he's collected and all that he's given since he's been here. He's our team captain and has led the team in scoring since he's come to town. All of that at less than $10 mil a year. Two years ago he finally cashed in on a contract extension. Now, before that extension is even up they want to trade him and buy him out before he can collect what is due to him from all his years of service. It sounds good at first to take the money and resign, but he would basically be signing a vet minimum deal to go to a contender, a la McDyess coming back to Detroit after the Denver buyout or Lindsay Hunter after the Atlanta buyout, or going someplace he really doesn't want to play and probably taking a pay cut or a short-term contract. Besides all that no one really knows all the details of the supposed trade.
All I'm saying is toss the guy a freakin' bone. Don't forget everything he's done here. Let him retire here. Run his damn sets. No one even seems to want Q here after this season and we're 3 starters and a bench away from contending again anyway so what is the point in bailing on him now?
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