Hamilton on fire

Richard Hamilton is showing himself to be a fantasy stud.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - He has never been the "Superstar" or the "Mad Bomber" or a true MVP candidate, but Richard "Rip" Hamilton is showing himself to be a fantasy stud as we head down the homestretch of the 2009 NBA season.

Hamilton, who was demoted to the bench earlier this season after Allen Iverson came over to the Detroit Pistons in a trade, has taken full advantage of Iverson's absence due to injury to show why he is the better "team" player. And at this point in Iverson's career, Hamilton is probably the better fantasy player as well.

Since the day that Iverson went down with a back injury (February 25th), Hamilton has been outstanding averaging 24.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 7.6 apg., far above his season averages of 18 points, three rebounds and four assists.

Those numbers are also better than the disappointing numbers Iverson has put up since being traded to Detroit from Denver. Iverson averaged 26.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 7.2 apg last year with Denver, but the Pistons have only been getting 18.0 ppg on 41.7% shooting with 3.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.6 turnovers.

Not coincidentally, the Pistons are 6-2 with Hamilton playing and Iverson watching. Detroit was 27-29 when Iverson went down.

In truth, Hamilton has never averaged 21 points-per-game for a season. In his best years, 2001-02 and 2005-06 Hamilton averaged a little over 20 ppg. But he's doing it now, so Detroit would be foolish to re-install Iverson into the starting lineup.

For the season the Pistons are averaging 93.37 ppg and yielding 94.28 ppg. But over the last eight games the numbers are 99.62 points for and 94.75 points against.

Clearly, Hamilton being in the starting lineup is making the Pistons a better team and just as clearly, as long as Hamilton starts for Detroit, he should be in your fantasy lineup as well.

Richard Hamilton's 2009 statistics

Richard HamiltonMINPPGRPGAPGTeam Record
Last eight games 38:30 24.8 3.9 7.6 6-2
As a starter 35:31 18.0 3.2 3.9 29-19
Off the bench 29:34 17.7 2.1 4.4 4-12

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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