(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The more I think about this series, the more I wonder what effect Richard Hamilton will have.
Hamilton is still a pretty good player. Will he be the unstoppable killer? No, but his effect is real. It's impossible to run around that much and not take a toll on a defense.
At his worst, Rip has creates one of two problems for the 76ers. He either: (a) consumes Andre Iguodala's energy and takes Iggy away from defending Luol Deng; or (b) is covered by someone much smaller than him.
Rip does pretty darn well against the Sixers since Iggy got there, and not much has changed with age when you look at the game logs:
The Sixers can do all they want to crash the boards, but at what cost? They can't collapse the paint with the Bulls' strong shooters waiting to punish that. And Philly doesn't have the length to defend a Deng-Hamilton perimeter.
The Bulls are going to win this series and there's no reason to think otherwise, but the most interesting part of Philly's defense is Iggy. Everything starts and finishes with him. And Hamilton is their dilemma.
Hamilton can be awful and still make this series impossible for Philly to win. That's a pretty good situation for the Bulls.