Name: Kirk Hinrich (pronounced HINE-rick)
Birth Date: January 2, 1981 (28 years old)
Birth Place: Sioux City, IA
Nicknames: Captain Kirk, The Hinrich Maneuver
Drafted: 2003, 1st Round, 7th overall by Chicago
Experience: 6 seasons
Previous teams: None
Contract: $9.5 million in 2009-10
Expect: Pull-up jumpers, solid defense
Don’t expect: A breakout year
Hinrich is a jump shooter. Period. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. According to 82games.com, a whopping 89 percent of his field goal attempts last season were jumpers. That’s an astonishing number, and it isn’t an aberration. In 2007-08, 84 percent of his field goal attempts were jumpers. In 2006-07, that number was 81 percent. In 2005-06, it was 77 percent. Can you spot the trend? The one bright spot is that his Effective Field Goal Percentage on jump shots was .517, and overall he ranked fourth on the Bulls (behind Joakim Noah, John Salmons and Ben Gordon) in total eFG% at .519 (a career-high for him). Furthermore, Hinrich hit 40.8 percent of his threes, which is the second-best mark of his career.
As John Hollinger pointed out: “Hinrich likes to shoot jumpers going to his right off the screen-and-roll, especially from the left side of the floor, and is also a decent spot-up shooter on 3s. He has good quickness going to his right but tends to pull up rather than go all the way to the basket.” That last part explains why Hinrich attempted only 1.3 free throws per game last season…which represents a career-low. When he does get to the line, Hinrich has (over the course of his career) knocked down about 80 percent of his foul shots, although last season’s 79.1 percent mark was also a career-low.
Hinrich does a reasonably good job distributing the ball in the halfcourt offense, usually off drive-and-kick-outs. Despite losing his starting job to Derrick Rose and playing a career-low 26.3 minutes per game during the 2008-09 campaign, he ranked second on the team with 3.9 assists per game compared to only 1.7 turnovers (which comes out to 2.3 assists per turnover). In fact, according to 82games.com, Hinrich had 197 assists versus only 55 “bad pass” turnovers (which comes out to 3.6 assists for every pass he threw away). However, Hinrich isn’t particularly adept at creating offense — for himself or his teammates — on the fly.
Hinrich is a determined and aggressive defender who can cover point guards, shooting guards, and (on occasion) small forwards (although with John Salmons and a healthy Luol Deng, that shouldn’t be necessary this season). He’s not exactly what you’d call a stopper, but Hinrich consistently gives his best on defense and rarely gets embarrassed, even by superstuds like Dwyane Wade. His lack of height and muscle can hurt him against bigger guards, but he usually manages to get under their skin with his quick hands and persistence.
Hinrich also does a pretty good job hawking the ball. Last season, he actually had a career-year in steals, setting a high mark for Steals Per 36 Minutes (1.8). And, despite playing fewer minutes than anyone in the regular rotation other than Joakim Noah, he led the Bulls in Steals Per game with 1.3.
Hinrich’s contract has become something of a sore spot with the team’s management (not to mention some fans). Because nine-plus million is a lot to pay for a backup point guard, Hinrich is often part of any big trade rumors involving the Bulls. It’s an open secret that the accountants would like to have his contract off the books, so the general feeling is that Hinrich could be moved at virtually any time if the right deal presented itself.
Hinrich can shoot, drive (although infrequently), and pass. He can play and defend both backcourt positions. He can stick the three at a high percentage. He seems content coming off the bench. Hinrich provides the Bulls with great versatility. It’s very, very doubtful that he’ll ever become The Next John Stockton (as people were predicting three or four seasons ago), but the team won’t be crippled when Hinrich subs in for Derrick Rose or John Salmons. Some people complain because he gets paid like a starter, but in reality he could (and would) start for several teams. And being able to bring someone with Hinrich’s overall utility off the bench can be a real security blanket.