Kirk Hinrich (07-08 Synopsis)

8 09 2008
Rock, Chalk...

Rock, Chalk...

Kirk Hinrich — Chicago Bulls Guard
Measurements: 6’3″ – 190 lbs.
Experience: Fifth-year, 27 years old
From: University of Kansas

2007-2008 Season Statistics
11.5 points | 41.4% FG | 35.0% 3PT | 6.0 assists | 3.3 rebounds | 1.2 steals | 31.4 minutes

Season Highs
Points: 38 (vs. Indiana)
Rebounds: 12 (vs. New York)
Assists: 14 (3x)
Steals: 5 (vs. Philadelphia)
Blocks: 4 (vs. Memphis)
Minutes: 47 (2x)

Season Grade: D+

What This Year Proved

Every year, I take a look at Kirk Hinrich’s production and I think, “damn, this kid’s gonna go on a tear and make the All-Star team.”

He was a shooter at Kansas and that helps me rationalize his erratic shooting from the field.  I always think, “Kirk’s off tonight.”  But when that thoughts pops into my head two nights out of five, it gives me some cognitive dissonance.

My off-season relationship with Kirk Hinrich is much like my relationship with cigars.  Every now and then, I think it’s a great idea to smoke a cigar.  I go out and buy the cigar and look at it, anticipating a fantastic time.  And then I smoke it.

“Wow; this was a bad idea,” I finally decide.  I make a mental note to never again buy cigars.

Four months later, the cycle starts a new.

Kirk Hinrich is always a great player with such great promise for me in October.  Coming into last season, I took a quick look at his 06-07 statistics:

16.6 points | 6.3 assists | 3.4 rebounds | 44.8% FG | 41.5% 3PT

He did that with most of the shots going to Ben Gordon and Luol Deng?  Wow.  This guy’s going to be awesome.  His selection into the USA National Team Program further validated my expectations.  Colangelo thinks he’s good enough to kick Luke Ridnour off the team!  Yes!

And then in April or May, I’m sorely disappointed.

I’ve been waiting two or three years for Kirk Hinrich to explode and make the All-Star team.  I feel like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally and  I’m sick of waiting.

Kirk did his thing this season.  He proved that he’s got a very nice floor game, both with the ball and while moving without the ball.

He’s always going to give you supreme effort on the defensive end.  To counter my thinking above, his production defensively is never disappointing as he tags the other team’s best perimeter player each night.

His floor shooting has regressed.

05-06 | 41.8% FG | 37.0% 3PT | 81.5% FT
06-07 | 44.8% FG | 41.5% 3PT | 83.5% FT
07-08 | 41.4% FG | 35.0% 3PT | 83.1% FT

Some of that dip can be explained by his emphasis on defensive.  However, it’s a pretty lame excuse as he’s been asked to defend the opposing team’s best player since he arrived in Chicago.

I would more quickly point towards his off-season duties with the National Team.  I knew he’d be a bit tired coming into this season and that may account for some of his shooting woes.

Quote Him

“We lost our identity to what got us here. So whatever happens this offseason, we have to find a way to get back our edge. I think we need to become a better defensive team. I think the better teams in the league that usually compete for the NBA championship ring are almost always the better defensive teams in the league. I think we need to do that. I think we’ve kind of lost our identity to what got us here, so whatever happens, we just have to find a way to get back what we had. We kind of lost our edge.”– Hinrich, after a late-season loss to the Miami Heat

Looking Forward

By drafting Derrick Rose, casual fans think that Kirk is expendable.  And quite frankly, it’s getting to a point where anyone on this roster is.  Mark my words: this year is do-or-die for Kirk.

He is a captain, he has a big contract and is heading into his sixth year in the league.  Growing pains and lumpy productivity will no longer be tolerated.

Even though his game doesn’t make him a stat-stuffer, his statistics must improve.  It is really the only tangible way for fans to make an argument like, “hey, Kirk Hinrich should start.”

Next season, look for him to continue getting the Bulls into offensive sets.  He’ll need to limit his turnovers even more to warrant some time at the point.  He’s a pretty dull Swiss army knife so look for Vinny Del Negro to use his versatility by playing him at both guard positions.

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7 responses

8 09 2008
Travis Outlaw

Kirk Hinrich is the next John Stockton.

9 09 2008
mao

It should help the Bulls and Heinrich to know that Kobe Bryant isn’t coming to take their jobs this year. I know that got kind of overplayed as a reason for why they sucked so much, but I think that really does make a difference when guys are looking over their shoulders, so to speak.

9 09 2008
Dave

The man was top 75 all-time in three point percentage (fell to 78 after last season). I think he gets too much undeserved criticism over his jump shot.

I’ve never been that large of a fan on Kirk Hinrich. I’m a big admirer of intelligent floor generals, creative floor generals … and Kirk hasn’t been that. He has other qualities but not the qualities I admire most in my point guard so I’ve never rated him too highly.

I think Hinrich’s limitations offensively as a point guard will continue to halt his progress, and stop him from becoming an all-star caliber player. I think whatever team he joins, and Chicago should trade him, he’ll need to be placed alongside a creative playmaking wing in order for his team’s to challenge for a title. He’d be an excellent fit next to someone like Brandon Roy in Portland (let’s get that rumour going again).

Hinrich above average starting point guard? Top 15 in the league? I think so. There’s no way he should be coming off the bench, Chicago have to let him live his career and let him move on. It’s unfair to ask him to backup Derrick Rose. I’ll be patient with it for now because I don’t think Rose is ready to be a top tier point (love his medium term, long term potential) as a rookie, but if Hinrich is on this roster in 12 months time I’m going to be livid …. and incredibly critical of John Paxson ruining a good player’s career.

As for Chicago, almost their entire roster doesn’t fit in with Derrick Rose. So many changes need to happen and none have happened. If I’m a Bulls fan I’m very depressed my team’s activity following the drafting of Derrick Rose. If you wanted to keep your roster as is you should have drafted Beasley, and tried to piece together the rest and make a run at a title.

10 09 2008
K-man

Ah!!! Dave!!! Finally, someone agrees with me!

However, I am trying to stay positive about the Rose pick simply because I’m a Bulls fan.

I think Hinrich has a good floor game. But there aren’t too many undersized collegiate wings that go on to become incredible floor generals. Especially because he’s never had a good post player to develop around. He’s done well with the tools that he has.

My comment about “[limiting Hinrich’s] turnovers to warrant some time at the pont” was directed at the fact that many have anointed Rose already — I definitely do not think he should be benched for Rose. I’m not at all excited about this team’s changes in the short-term as I too think the Rose pick was horrendous given the current Bulls roster.

10 09 2008
Dave

K-Man,

It isn’t the Rose draft pick that I think is bad …. it’s the lack of activity after the pick. There needed to be consequential roster changes in order to re-balance the roster and it never happened, or at least hasn’t happened yet.

If I was the one making that draft pick on draft night I too would have picked Derrick Rose ….. I just would have tried to trade half the roster between then and now. I would have cut Ben Gordon lose and moved Hinrich, moved Nocioni, and possibly a few others (Hughes if possible). Deng is the only one who’d be a certainty to stay.

If Paxson was never going to make those changes he should have taken Beasley. Beasley would have slid in beautifully (excellent fit) and the Bulls would have had the chance of being a contender in the East very quickly.

The reason I like the pick is that I believe Derrick Rose is the superior prospect and the player you’ll want in three years time. He’ll be a great building block for several Bulls squads over the next dozen years.

_________________________________

As I said I’m not convinced by how NBA ready Rose is, he has incredible instincts but his game lacks knowledge and understanding. He needs more experience and it shows. It’s a big summer for him, we’ll see how hard he’s worked on his game.

I expect Rose to be a solid player as a rookie but I doubt he’ll be a star, hopeful that he will be a star caliber player by his second season though. I also think he’d be a lot more successful as a rookie if he were playing in a less structured offense which Del Negro doesn’t seem to be teaching …. allowing him to let his instincts run free and cause havoc.

11 09 2008
K-man

Dave:

Ah, then I’ll have to disagree with you on that. I would have taken Beasley simply because some Bulls fans are sick of continuous sermons on potential from Bulls management.

This draft pick has truly shifted my draft-on-potential paradigm.
Sure, instincts are a good indicator of potential but everyone drafted into the NBA has instincts. (Save some of your size-motivated picks and Tyrus Thomas, haha.) If you’re looking to compete now while having several guys in the oven (Thomas, Noah and Deng to an extent) does not scream “let’s draft another project!”

And I think most of my perspective is grounded on a belief that the current Bulls roster (sans Rose) is much better than what they showed last season.

If you agree with me on that then it doesn’t make sense to “reach” on a pick that makes several of your guards redundant.

If you don’t think as highly of their roster then I would have to agree with your thinking. In that respect, Paxson did not follow up that selection well. However, I keep Gordon. Move Hinrich and Hughes. Keep Nocioni. I realize Gordon becomes a defensive liability without Hinrich but whom else can Rose kick out to? Hughes is a waste of space as long as Sefolosha is around. Nocioni will find a way to score if he needs to and is scrappy enough to play 4 in a small line-up.

But again, dumping five years of great draft picks for a 19-year-old gamble just doesn’t make sense to me.

13 09 2008
Dave

First stage – considering the pick without too much thought on the Bulls specifically.

I think the difference between Rose’s potential and Beasley’s potential is very large. It’s not pie in the sky potential (Ty Thomas or Chandler+Curry) either, Rose has already exhibited a very high level of skill. So passing on this quality player with high potential would be very difficult for me, it would only be for a player that in one move brings my squad to title contention. I don’t think Beasley does that for Chicago so I pass on Beasley and take Rose in just about every situation imaginable … I’d pass on Rose and take Beasley if I had a top 5 or so PG which Hinrich is not.

Second stage – Bulls specifically and whether or not that swings the initial scale

I’d agree that the Bulls were better than they showed last season. I expected more from them, especially on the (1) defensive end and from (2) Hinrich and Deng. That said I thought the pre-season expectations last year where completely out of whack and that the Bulls were overrated. I did consider them a playoff caliber squad but also a team that would be lucky to get out of the first round (Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Orlando all being better and likely one of who would play the Bulls in the opening round). With the improvements made once again this offseason that difference has grown even larger with the Bulls falling further down the pecking order. As I said at the start of this paragraph, I thought the Bulls underperformed and feel they can do better in the two areas I said above, plus hopefully some of their youth improves too … so better but a long way off from where they need to be.

So with where I evaluate the Bulls to be, even with a Beasley they don’t go get past the top five teams (add Phily to the other four) in the East. I would like their chances to get back to the playoff picture though. I’d consider them in that Toronto/Washington bracket and still in need of making more moves, and important moves at that. Without Beasley I’m lukewarm on their chances, they’ve got a shot but so do several other squads.

———————

As for moving Bulls guards, their good draft picks, I have no problem with that.

I’m don’t really like Ben Gordon and think the Bulls are mad for offering him so much money, and Ben is even madder for turning that deal down. I think he’s a fairly average player who is difficult to play off of as a go to scorer which limits his value as a scorer. He also creates a large number of problems, almost as many as he solves. And … his value to the Bulls is seriously inflated by the team’s offensive deficiencies over the past couple of years. Add in the tweener label, inability to play the point, defensive issues, limited playmaking …. like I said I regard him as a fairly average player.

I have no problem moving Kirk Hinrich when I’m inserting a top point guard prospect in his place.

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