Rip Hamilton likes to say he's in the best shape in the NBA. It might be true, too, the way he runs around the court on every single play. But there's more to it than just moving; he also has a great feel on where his opponent is and where he will be. Kritsa Latham of the Free Press caught up with him and talked about his technique:
Speed is important, but maybe in a way most people wouldn't suspect.
"I always tell people, when you're trying to get there, you get there fast," he said. "But the shot is slow. I slow down. A lot of people think you can just go at one speed, 100 miles per hour and then get the ball and shoot at 100 miles per hour. No, you time it up. You know where the screen is going to come from, so I'm going to run to the screen 100 miles an hour, and as soon as I curl it, I slow it down to about 50, 60 miles per hour so I can get my shot off."
As for those screens, they don't have to be perfect for Hamilton to get the space he wants.
"I just tell them you've got to nip them," he said. "You don't actually have to hit 'em. Sometimes Ben (Wallace) says, 'It's hard to screen for you, Rip, because you're moving so fast.' I say, 'Just nip 'em.' I just need a little space. When a guy is chasing you, and he hits a (screen), they can't jump as high, they can't cut the way they want to cut. So if they nip 'em, I'm good. But if they hit 'em, oh, I'm great."
There's more there, and it's definitely a good read for someone interested in knowing what exactly is going through a guy's head when he makes decisions on the floor. Most articles have a lot of author commentary and whatnot to set up a select handful of quotes, but this is almost 100% straight dialogue right out of Hamilton's mouth. Good stuff. I hope the Free Press does more stuff like this.
HOW'D THEY DO THAT? Rip rides the curls [Detroit Free Press]