Rip Hamilton Is Team Melo: Pistons Would Have Been A Dynasty

"I don’t know what Ben was talking about, I really don’t."

Will Burchfield
June 01, 2020 - 6:01 pm

It's a debate to which we'll never have an answer. 

Would the Pistons have won more championships with Carmelo Anthony instead of Darko Milicic? Detroit infamously took Milicic over Melo in the 2003 draft. 

Melo says yes. So does his buddy Dwyane Wade. 

Ben Wallace says no. In fact, Wallace doesn't even think the Pistons would have won in 2004.

Rip Hamilton, another core member of those Goin' To Work Pistons, is Team Melo. In a conversation with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the All The Smoke podcast, Hamilton said Detroit would have won three rings with Anthony. That would put the Pistons in the same dynasty conversation as the Lakers of the early 2000's Lakers and Warriors of the late 2010's. 

"I don’t know what Ben was talking about, I really don’t. I love 'Body' to death, but I don’t know what the hell he was talking about when he said that. Carmelo Anthony comes to Detroit, man, listen, a problem," said Hamilton. "Melo was a once-in-a-generation type talent."

Wallace believes Anthony would have disrupted the Pistons' team chemistry and prevented Tayshaun Prince from blossoming into a star. Others say Anthony wouldn't have bought into Detroit's defense-first style of play. Hamilton doesn't buy it. 

"The way we were structured, when guys came to our team they fell in line. When I came from Washington, I wasn’t a defender, I wasn’t a guy that really strapped up on the defensive end. But when I got there and saw big bro Ben Wallace doing it night in and night out and saying this is the foundation of what this team is built on, I gotta fall in line. Chauncey Billups wasn’t looked at as no defender before he got to Detroit. We all had to fall in line because of what Ben was beginning to build in Detroit," said Hamilton. 

On top of changing history for the Pistons, Hamilton says Anthony-to-Detroit would have drastically altered Melo's legacy. By the time he hit free agency, he would have had three rings on his resume. He would be remembered now as a champion. Instead, Melo's widely considered a me-first scorer who couldn't take his teams over the top. 

Chauncey Billups Has Harsh Take On Carmelo Anthony

"You bring Carmelo to us, I think the narrative would have been totally different on his career. Because the thing we would be talking about is, alright, Carmelo now has three championships already. Now Melo’s thinking about, can he do this by himself? That would have been the question mark going into the negotiation for his next contact. ‘Okay, I got three already, now maybe I want to venture out and see if I can do it on my own.’ That would have been the narrative on Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony would have been a champion," said Hamilton. 

Meanwhile, Anthony's scoring ability would have allowed players like Hamilton and Billups to thrive for much longer. 

"Man, like I said, if he would have been playing on our team, me and Billups would have played for 20 years. Now we wouldn’t have to carry the load. I wouldn’t have to play 40 minutes a game. When we’re 30-something years old it’s like, ‘Here Melo, carry us. Take the ball. You carry us.’ Me and Chauncey, we’re gonna knock down wide open shots, Tayshaun gonna do what he do, Sheed and Ben, like, we didn’t care. We had no ego. Only thing that mattered for us was to win basketball games," said Hamilton.