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
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.
“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
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.