[Wizards 2010-11 Player Preview Index: Gilbert Arenas, Hilton Armstrong, Andray Blatche,
Trevor Booker, Kirk Hinrich, Josh Howard, Yi Jianlian, JaVale McGee, Kevin Seraphin,
Al Thornton, John Wall, Nick Young.]
The Transitional Faces of Kirk Hinrich,
as seen around Washington, D.C….
-by Adam McGinnis
In August 1997 Kirk Hinrich committed to play ball at Iowa State as a high school sophomore, but after Iowa State coach Tim Floyd left to sign up for Jerry Krause’s failed Jordan-less ego experiment with the Chicago Bulls in July 1998, Kirk gladly found Kansas.
“I really didn’t think he was going,” Hinrich once said. “I had heard the rumors, but I just didn’t see him doing it. I just didn’t see him in the NBA.”
So much for that. Iowa State replaced Floyd with Larry Eustachy, of Natty Light lore, and he in turn used Hinrich’s free scholarship to sign NBA (former) guard Jamaal Tinsley.
In 1999, Hinrich was co-Mr. Basketball in the state of Iowa with KU teammate and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison. Also in the running for the award that year was Kyle Korver of Pella, Iowa. Hinrich hails from Sioux City, Iowa and attended West High School. Locals have nicknamed the town, “Sewer City,” for predictable odor reasons.
No idea yet if Hinrich helped build Sioux City on Rock and Roll.
-by Stephen Riley
It wasn’t just another regular summer for Hinrich. The former Chicago Bull found himself just another ticket number in the LeBron James summer sweepstakes. But James’ final motive to take his talents to South Beach effectively sealed the deal in that the only team Hinrich’s known in his NBA career traded him away for basically nothing; Chicago’s loss, Washington’s gain however. The seven-year veteran arrived to the District in early July as a decorated backgrounder to the John Wall and Gilbert Arenas show. Regardless of the spotlight, Hinrich will blend brilliantly as a combo guard able to provide relief in a pinch to what should be an explosive backcourt.
“I was a little bit blindsided by the trade, but it’s great to be wanted,” Hinrich told the Washington Post’s Michael Lee at his introductory press conference. The 6’3″ guard may not have been coveted by management in Chi-Town, but he’ll be cherished in Capital City. His veteran steadiness and ability to navigate both backcourt spots will be in an asset in Wizards coach Flip Saunders’ guard-orientated offense.
-by Adam McGinnis
Kirk Hinrich’s Career Numbers (via Basketball-Reference.com):
Other than the dollars remaining on his contract, critics of the Hinrich deal have pointed out that his stalwart defense has actually slipped in recent years. I decided to see if there was any statistical back up on the D argument. Earlier this summer on TAI, John Townsend dissected some statistics on Hinrich and Kyle Weidie analyzed the salary cap complaints.
This is how many points the Bulls gave up when Hinrich was on the court compared to when he was not (his plus/minus on defensive points allowed per 100 possessions, via 82games.com):
While Hinrich’s DRtg & DWS numbers dipped last year, they were still higher than earlier in his career. It’s hard to find much pattern of slippage in the defensive on/off plus-minus statistics too. Figuring out defensive ability is an inexact science, and Hinrich is turning 30 in January, but these statistics don’t really support any dramatic statistical downturn of his defensive prowess.
The Perfect Play.
-by John Townsend
-by Kyle Weidie
Okay, let me see if I can get this right. Boy decides to invest his time in a hot girl, but hot girl is always willing to trade up should the opportunity present itself. It does and she does. So then drunk girl comes knocking with promises, but it’s easy to see that she’s drunk girl — you can smell it on her breath. Sure, drunk girl might “do” in a pinch, as a rebound. But you should know better. Don’t settle for drunk girl. Keep your options open. Enter nice, traditional girl — strong values, won’t do you wrong, offers stability.
Using the intro by Adam, I’ll denote Tim Floyd as the hot girl, Larry Eustachy as the drunk girl and Kansas coach Roy Williams as the traditional girl. Well, the hot girl, Floyd … it didn’t turn out so well for her, neither in Chicago, nor in New Orleans. Hot girl also failed epically trying to pursue better things in Los Angeles, floated around NBA assistant coaching sidelines, serving as a “mentor” to the likes of Nick Young, and now finds herself knocked up in El Paso, at UTEP to be exact. She never figured this would happen after she left Iowa State for greener pastures.
Drunk girl, Eustachy, proceeded to create a reputation for herself, as drunk girls are wont to do. And Hinrich, who seemingly made the right, perhaps honorable decision to go with traditional girl Roy Williams at Kansas, has been cultivated into one of the NBA’s more respected veterans.
Might Hinrich have developed into the upstanding citizen that he is otherwise? Likely. But the point is that those experiences, and playing under the great Roy Williams, who has cultivated far more talent than Floyd and Eustachy combined (and I’m not talking about “checking for talent” Bill Clinton-style at Frat parties), has probably helped to hone Hinrich’s decision-making, on and off the court, and has put him and his current rebuilding team in a slightly better position. Hinrich’s expected to be a leader and his path has cultivated that.
A far cry from the “Get drunk and make bad decisions,” advice that Gilbert Arenas issued before his extravagant 25-year old birthday party.
If you want another comparison, to an actual basketball player, I polled a couple writers with a deep relationship with Chicago basketball, Kelly Dwyer and Trey Kerby of Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie, two bros who do absolutely excellent work.
“Jerry Sloan. Not a great shooter, not a pure point guard (though Baltimore/Chicago asked him/him to play it early in his career), fearsome defender. Bangs, and an every-third-day shave. Jerry Sloan.”
“Maybe Bulls-era Ron Harper with knees that work? Better shooter, less black, but kind of similar fellows. I don’t know if this makes sense but I can’t stop thinking about Ron Harper.”
-by Beckley Mason
Hinrich is physically still in his prime, entering just his seventh NBA season. If he stays with the Wizards, it will be in the same sage veteran/defensive specialist role he filled behind Derrick Rose in Chicago. Hinrich may be little more than a useful asset to turn around for a more urgent need next summer. But Grunfeld worked hard to acquire him, so he may be in the team’s long-term plans.
This year, Gilbert Arenas will no doubt occupy the lead guard position at times when Wall rests, which means Hinrich may be the Wizards’ third point guard option. Initially, the Sioux City Shooter will add the most value on the defensive end and by pounding home spot up treys in transition (1.1 Points Per Possession per Synergy Sports, via Townsend’s previous stat breakdown on TAI).
In the half court, it would be nice to see Hinrich become more of a dead-eye spot up shooter. If he does he’ll be a great backcourt mate to Wall, who loves to kick off of penetration. Hinrich has at least a few more productive years in him, and his ability to play both guard positions will allow him to step up in the case of injury or firearm related suspension. However, because he doesn’t have great size or shoot the ball exceptionally well, he may be the odd man out in the Wizards’ back court rotation over the long haul. Expect Hinrich to become a fan favorite and lead the team in 3pt FG% this year—then get shipped off before the 2011-12 season.