The Bulls have verbally agreed to sign combo guard Kirk Hinrich to a two-year, six million dollar deal. As the media broke the signing, many assumed that Hinrich would be the perfect fit to step in and handle the point-guard duties while Derrick Rose rehabbed from a season-ending ACL injury. The truth is, Hinrich can help rookie Marquis Teague develop, but to expect Hinrich to be efficient in the PG spot is foolish.
Last year, the former Jayhawk averaged a pedestrian 6.6 points per game in 25.8 mpg. In a season where he dealt with injuries, Hinrich struggled to find his way, especially in the point guard spot. As the primary ball-handler, Hinrich was highly inefficient. His eFG% was an awful 43.6% and his PER was just as bad at 8.4. That’s Keith Bogans bad, for those of you scoring at home. While on the floor, Hinrich cost his team 7.4 points per 48 minutes. Defensively, it looks as if point guards have went at Hinrich and his average foot speed. Hinrich was 3.5 PER worse every 48 minutes.
So, if the Bulls are planning to play Hinrich at point guard, this move is definitely questionable. However, Hinrich had a lot more success as a shooting guard in the Hawks offense.
The top 5 units for the Hawks last year came when Hinrich was the two-guard. Compared to his awful 43.6% eFG as the point guard, Hinrich was able to get higher quality shots, at a tune of 53.4%. His team was +6.9 when he was on the court as a shooting guard. It is clear that Hinrich will become more valuable as a shooting guard as he ages in the league, while other quicker players handle the PG spot.
As the Bulls go forward in 2012-2013 and even when Rose is completely healthy in 2013-2014, Hinrich should primarily be a shooting guard. We’ve seen coach Thibs have no issue with playing smaller players as the shooting guard, like CJ Watson last season. In order to do that, Hinrich will need to shoot well and with consistency.
With the rumors of Kyle Korver going elsewhere next year, it looks as if Hinrich’s main role should be to solidify the shooting guard spot at 15 minutes per game, and handle the backup point guard responsibilities for 10 minutes per game. If Hinrich is to impact the team like Korver did, the Bulls will need Hinrich to revert back to 2008-2011 shooting levels, where he connected on 39% of his long-range attempts.
Even though he is not as strong as he once was as a point-guard, the Bulls can still lean on him as a veteran influence to the rookie Teague.
At two-years and six million, the deal is a good one for the Bulls. The value was right, Hinrich goes back to a city that he’s familiar with, and the Bulls have extra insurance for Rose, Teague and Rip Hamilton.
Now, I get to go dust off the #12 jersey hanging in my closet.
Marco Radenkovich is the former Editor-in-Chief and founder of Horns to the Hardwood. He has also written for Scout.com’s Marquette University Basketball branch, Marquettehoops.com for four years, as well as multiple Chicago Cubs blogs. As a featured columnist, Marco will add advanced statistics to the team at HttH. He brings the passion of a 24 year-old Bulls fan in his articles. Marco resides in the Chicago suburbs. You can follow him at @mradenkovich.
Courtesy to Basketball-Reference and 82games.com for supplying the stats mentioned in the above article.
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