CHICAGO — The Bulls return home to the United Center for the first time since last May’s meltdown against the Miami Heat and they do it with a new shooting guard. Richard Hamilton is set to make his Bulls debut tonight when Chicago welcomes in the Indiana Pacers for the Preseason finale.
Hamilton was waived by the Detroit Pistons earlier last week and was instantly the favorite to be the shooting guard of 2011 for Chicago. The Bulls suffered from stale offensive production from the two guard slot and now that Hamilton has arrived, the future can move forward.
Hamilton won’t be a long term stay in Chicago, but at 33 years of age he’s got gas in the tank. Hamilton was an instrumental part of the Pistons 2004 NBA title but fell out of favor with the organization in recent years. He had well known distain for some of the choices the front office made, like getting rid of Chauncey Billups, and feuded with his coaching staff going as far as being benched for the majority of a seven week period last year.
But what he brings to Chicago is a clean slate and a lot of veteran playoff and championship experience the Bulls desperately needed last year. As far as his character last year with the Pistons?
“I’ll judge him on what he does here.” said head coach Tom Thibodeau when asked that question. Not a whole lot of people are worried about Hamilton being a distraction especially since he was seemingly a stand up guy before his woes in Detroit last year.
He will compete with Ronnie Brewer for the starting spot but regardless of who wins (which will be Hamilton), both will see almost equal time in what is sure to be an intense condensed season.
Hamilton sat out the Bulls preseason opener in Indiana but has been told he will get the nod tonight in Chicago. How well will Hamilton fit in with the fans in Chicago, a rival of his former long term team the Pistons? Hamilton simply had this to say to Bulls fans at last nights “Sixth Man Jam” event.
“I used to hate you on the Pistons.” Hamilton said with a smile. “Now I love you.”