Let’s not get carried away with Richard Hamilton praise

Of all current and healthy NBA players not in a team’s rotation, I’ll acknowledge Richard Hamilton has probably had the most distinguished career. But the local media shouldn’t stick up for him quite so much.

First, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press wrote the following about John Kuester:

He could not escape the growing evidence that the team plays better without Hamilton — and that’s not assigning any kind of blame. (emphasis mine)

I understand why Kuester won’t admit Hamilton’s benching was performance-related, instead insisting it was merely a random attempt to reduce the rotation and turn around a losing season. But Kuester is distorting facts, at best. Ellis, an objective writer, doesn’t need to do that.

Hamilton absolutely deserves blame for losing his rotation spot. He takes a lot of shots and makes very few of them. Other aspects of his game are OK, but he doesn’t excel at any of them. Frankly, he doesn’t deserve to play regularly right now, and that’s why the Pistons are better with him on the bench.

Then, Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News wrote:

They know that every night until the saga is resolved, Hamilton sees a player on the opposing team he often got the better of. Wednesday it was Boston’s Ray Allen. Next it’ll be Vince Carter (Phoenix), Jason Richardson (Orlando) and Chauncey Billups (Denver).

That sounds nice, but Allen, Carter, Richardson and Billups are some of the NBA’s top guards. Does Hamilton really match up well with them?

Hamilton’s main role has always been as a scorer and doing what he can to limit the offensive output of his opponent. With that in mind, I devised a scoring system to rate each matchup between Hamilton and the four players Goodwill mentioned. In each game, a player can earn two wins – one for scoring more points and one for having a better true-shooting percentage.

Here’s how Hamilton stacked up:

Richard Hamilton vs. Ray Allen

View the matchup

Points: 7-18-3

True-shooting percentage: 9-19

Total: 16-37-3

Richard Hamilton vs. Vince Carter

View the matchup

Points: 17-19-2

True-shooting percentage: 21-17

Total: 38-36-2

Richard Hamilton vs. Jason Richardson

View the matchup

Points: 9-6

True-shooting percentage: 6-9

Total: 15-15

Richard Hamilton vs. Chauncey Billups

View the matchup

Points: 2-2

True-shooting percentage: 1-3

Total: 3-5

Combined

Points: 35-45-5

True-shooting percentage: 37-48

Total: 72-93

Allen has dominated Hamilton over the years, and Hamilton is approximately breaking even with Carter, Richardson and Billups.

Hamilton had (is having?) a fine career, but when you hold him against the league’s top guards, he’s probably going to fall short. I guess in a very technical sense, Hamilton often got the better of those four because, when you play 11 years, you’re bound to get some go your way.

But relatively, Hamilton fell short – just likes he’s been doing against everyone this season.

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Tags: John Kuester Richard Hamilton

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