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The Big Answer?: Richard Hamilton

DF then: How much value is there in being the league’s best-conditioned 32-year-old?

Richard Hamilton prides himself on being the NBA’s best-conditioned player, and depending on how you judge that, he might be. Relative to the type of body he’d have if he took average care of himself, Hamilton might be in the best shape in the league.

But how does an extremely fit 32-year-old compare to a regularly fit (by NBA standards) 26-year-old?

Can he be worth $37.5 million over the next three years? Can he be worth an asset in a trade?

I think Hamilton has done all he can to make himself as valuable as possible. But is that enough?

DF now: Some, but not enough to justify his contract

The game doesn’t come as easily to Hamilton as it once did. He can still be effective, but in order to do so, he must exhibit supreme focus. He can’t skate by on just his athleticism anymore. (Not to say athleticism defined his game before, but there were certainly moments it carried him.)

Unfortunately, whether it be arguing with referees or arguing with John Kuester, Hamilton hasn’t shown he can zone out the distractions. Hamilton can – and should – play better than he did this year, but even he gets his mental game in order, he’ll never again be the player he once was.

PH then: Why again does he need to be traded?

Covering media day reinforced something I’d lost sight of: I really like Rip Hamilton a lot. He’s funny, he’s upbeat and although there are certainly questions about his health, he’s still in great shape.

He has a skill set (i.e., not one dependent on elite athleticism) that will make him a solid player well into his late 30s. There are better players than Hamilton out there, and the Pistons have to clear some space on the perimeter, but if he’s healthy, Hamilton will again be a very decent player for the Pistons.

PH now: Oops

I’ve learned that the funny, engaging person Hamilton is off the court is probably not the same person he is in the locker room – particularly toward coaches. Hamilton has declined, though not as much as I thought earlier in the season. He’s still capable of being a solid starter for a team with better players around him. The Pistons don’t have anyone else on the roster who is the answer at shooting guard going forward, but it’s clearly in the best interests of all parties to go their separate ways after the season.

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Tags: John Kuester Richard Hamilton

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