The Worst of Kirk Hinrich

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article  about Kirk Hinrich’s shooting slump titled Hinrich not sweating cold spell.

Well, if Captain Kirk isn’t sweating, he should be.

Remember: Despite the fact that Derrick Rose was out indefinitely and C.J. Watson had played well both as a backup and as a starter when Rose was out, the Bulls declined to pick up his $3.2 million team option for the 2012-13 season. Management wanted to save money…chemistry and success be damned. Watson went on to sign a two-year contract for the veteran’s minimum to back up Deron Williams on the New Jersey Nets.

The Bulls then went out and inked Hinrich to a two-year deal reportedly worth around $8 million. This was management’s “big free agent signing” during an offseason in which the Miami Heat stole Ray Allen from the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers traded for both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

But Hinrich was family. His poor seasons in Washington and Atlanta were excused based on injury and miscasting. Conventional wisdom  was that Kirk was better suited to fill in at point guard until Rose returned after which he could slide between backing up both backcourt positions. His defensive acumen, versatility and history with the team made him well worth the expense. Or so the theory went.

The good news:

Hinrich leads the Bulls in assists. He ranks 21st in assists per game (5.9), 19th in assist to turnover ratio (2.94) and 13th in assist percentage (34.6).

The bad news:

Pretty much everything else. Hinrich is having by far the worst season of his career, which is really saying something when you look at the stats from his last season with the Hawks.

Hinrich is averaging only 4.9 points while shooting a cringe-worthy 29.6 percent from the field and an equally gag-inspiring  25 percent from three-point range. Kirk is even struggling to connect on free throws, as evidenced by his frigid 53.3 percent conversion rate at the charity stripe.

According to John Hollinger’s latest stats, Hinrich’s Player Efficiency Rating is a career-low 9.1. That ranks him at 49th among shooting guards and 57th among point guards. And according to the PER reference guide, Kirk is somewhere between “Definitely Renting” and “Next Stop: D-League.”

His True Shooting Percentage is 36.3. That ranks him dead last among shooting guards and five spots from dead last among point guards. In other words, he is one of the worst shooting guards in the league.

His Value Added — the estimated number of points a player adds to a team’s season total above what a “replacement player” would produce — is -4.7.

I could keep throwing Hinrich’s nightmare numbers at you — like his Offensive Rating of 86 or his -0.2 Offensive Win Shares — but the horse is dead. It cannot be beaten anymore.

But it’s only been nine games right?

Said Hinrich: “It’s such a small sample size. Most games, I really don’t know if I have it going or not because I’m taking so few shots. I’m not worried. I still feel like I’m shooting it good in practice.”

It’s true that Hinrich is taking only 6.0 shots per game. But then Jimmy Butler is taking only 2.8 shots per game…and he’s shooting 60 percent from the field. And 93 percent from the line.

I’m not sure what the Bulls should do. They could start Nate Robinson. After all, Little Nate is averaging 12 points while shooting 40 percent on  threes and 80 percent from the line. His PER is currently 17.6 and his assist percentage (32.3) compares favorably to Hinrich’s.

Of  course, he has the tendency to overdribble, and the starting unit would then have to hide both Robinson and Carlos Boozer on defense. And then the Bulls would have absolutely no scoring punch off the bench.

All of which means the Bulls will probably just try to wait out Hinrich’s slump and hope he eventually finds his rhythm.

I just wonder whether he still has a rhythm to find.

14 Responses to The Worst of Kirk Hinrich

    Slap Dog Hoops November 21, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Hinrich is a washed up has-been who should not be playing the minutes that he has been given. He certainly has not filled in the void of Derrick Rose’s absence, that’s for sure. Personally I think the Bulls should start Nate Robinson. He’s not much of a distibutor, but at least he will provide more energy and leadership than Hinrich has.

    Michael Hsu November 21, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    It’s okay let them tank and get a good draft pick and lure Tyreke Evans out. Suckramento is 2-8 please come Tyreke!

    Hawk November 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Dude’s a pass-first point guard. His job is to find four different guys that can score, and play defense. The Bulls didn’t hire him to shoot, thank God. We can get volume-shooting points from Luol Deng, Kirk doesn’t need to shoot the ball. The only thing I’m watching from Kirk is his defense. If he can get back to his old form on D, we’ll be all right. Everyone is looking at Kirk because Carlos, Luol and Rip aren’t getting it done like they should. Wait for the chemistry to form, it’ll come.

    Ralph November 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Sorry. Bulls management is unwilling and unable to sign valuable free agents. Year after year! To let everything we had go for NOTHING this past summer is inexcusable. Now we just wait it out to see what draft choice we can pick up for upcoming seasons. Such a waste. We came so close.

    Dan Snyder November 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Kirk Heinrich is terrible. Bellinelli is a
    waste of money. Radmanovich should be sent to
    eastern europe to play. Whoever is responsible
    for hiring these guys should be fired immediately
    T. Gibson cannot shoot the ball. Robinson should
    be playing more ( starting ) Thank the lord for
    Noah, Deng, Boozer should be sent back to Duke.

    BoppinBob November 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Capt. Kirk is a pass first/defensive PG. He is also learning a new defensive system which is fairly complicated. As he gets more comfortable in the defensive system he will relax on the offensive end and he will shoot better. My big concern with Kirk is his health. We were lead to believe that he was in better shape than he was with Washington and Atlanta. At this point I have to question that. If he continues to have minor naggin injuries he will not be effective.

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  1. Game Recap: Bulls 93, Bucks 86 » By The Horns - November 25, 2012

    […] Hinrich’s Shooting Nightmare Continues: Kirk’s rough season continued with a 3-for-10 outing. He is now shooting 30 percent from the field, 25 percent on […]

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