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Has Kirk Hinrich improved this season from his rookie season last year?

I debated as to whether I should start this thread because I do not want this to get out of hand. I just really do not like the bashing that Hinrich gets. I think a lot of people here are on this great agenda to blast Hinrich. I don't get it, this kid is the real deal! So in your opinion is he a better player than last year? Has his game progressed or regressed, and why or why not?
 

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Basghetti80 said:
Has Kirk Hinrich improved this season from his rookie season last year?

I debated as to whether I should start this thread because I do not want this to get out of hand. I just really do not like the bashing that Hinrich gets. I think a lot of people here are on this great agenda to blast Hinrich. I don't get it, this kid is the real deal! So in your opinion is he a better player than last year? Has his game progressed or regressed, and why or why not?
Though we've heard this in reference to another former Bull, I have to say that he's adjusting to a new position. Watching him play with Duhon, I realized that he really does look to score first now. It boggled my mind, because I've not really seen Hinrich not be the playmaker.

Last season he was taking about 10.8 shots a game. This season, that number is up to 14.5. But he's averaging less assists in more minutes a game.

I'd say he's playing outside of his game. He's a quick, athletic penetrate-and-dish talent that can shoot the ball as well. If we could get a true 2 guard in here, or if BG steps up and shows he can be a starter sometime soon (it's ok if he doesn't... after all, he's still a rookie), then I think Hinrich will be back in the role that maximizes his talent.

Because of that, I don't think he's progressed this season. He hasn't regressed either, but the signs of his growth from this year (knowing how to play and defend 2 guards) will show up only as canny and shrewd intangible basketball ability from the 1 spot.

Hey, everyone likes being the scorer and Hinrich has enjoyed it, I think. But we sure could use a true SG to take the heat off of him, so that Duhon can be a true backup (instead of a starter that plays bench minutes) and so that Gordon can get in the rotation.

Conclusion: KH's growth is greatly contingent on who his backcourt running mate is, and what position he is playing.
 

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His shooting percentages are almost identical from the field and the line, although his 3-pt percentage is down a little. But his rebounds are up, his steals are up, and his assist/TO ratio is up. His defensive instincts are getting a little better IMHO.

So overall, yes he has improved. Hopefully next season he comes back with an improved FG%, although if he starts shooting 45% from the field I really don't know what his haters will have to complain about?
 

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Offensively

Average to Down Slightly.

He went from not being able to throw an entry pass in the low post last season, to average at it this year. He started off the season terribly, but perhaps he has been taking lessons from Duhon and Pike (our best entry passers, followed by Deng).

Obviously he is taking more shots and shooting at a lower percentage, so his shooting has been the largest negative offensively. While Kirk is still pretty bad at getting to the line (see the Philly game on that 1on1 layup attempt), he has 30 more FTA in 12 less games, bringing his average up to slightly better than 3FTA per game. I'd like to see that number up around 5.

He is averaging 0.2 less assists per game, but his TOs are down 0.2 as well, so the assist/TO ratio has gotten better. He is 11th in the NBA in assists, and only plays about 1/2 to 2/3 of the game at the PG spot. When he and Duhon are in together, Duhon is running the offense about 75-80% of the time to start the game and the second half.

Defensively

Good improvement.

Kirk is not picking up a lot of ticky tack fouls that plagued him his rookie season. Yes, there have been games this year that calls have taken Kirk out of his game, but they are nowhere near the amount he was seeing last year. It seems that since the first Bulls winning streak, Kirk has been getting respect from the refs as being a good defender and has been getting some non-calls that would have been picked up last year.

His on the ball defense has made significant improvements as well. His hands are much more active. Last year, he rarely would knock the ball loose from a dribbling defender. Most of his steals came from good body defense forcing the ball loose or help on their bigs in the post. This season, most of his steals seem to come from the perimeter or off of offensive rebounds. Again, his hands are just that much more active defensively this season.

He has shown slight improvement in his player rotations. He was one of the few who played the zone well last year, and his player rotations seem a quarter to half a step quicker this season (as has the whole team). I don't think he has actively improved in this area. I think he is just more comfortable with the system and where he is supposed to be when.

Rebounding

Good Improvement

This is an obvious area of improvement. When the team is rebounding well, Kirk immediately goes to the outlet in order to try and push the ball. When the team has given up a couple of offensive boards, you often find that it is Kirk (or Duhon/Nocioni) picking up the slack. For a 6'3" PG averaging over 4 rebounds per game, we can't ask for a lot more. If Tyson were not on our team, I think Kirk would be pushing 5 boards a game (and no I'm not saying Tyson is stealing rebounds away from Kirk).

Intangibles

Outstanding Improvement.

I remember a post game interview last year towards the end of the season where Skiles said he asked in the huddle if anyone thought Kirk wasn't the leader of this team. No one said no, and Skiles told Kirk to go out and be that leader. Well folks, this is the season where we have seen that. Kirk is the floor general, and along with Tyson is the emotional leader. In only his second season, Kirk is your classic lead by example type of guy (and this attitude is what makes him my favorite player). No one can really debate that this is not Kirk's team, yet you'll never hear Kirk say anything but this is "our" team.

Overall

Average to Above Average Improvement

While offense is half the game, I still say he has improved this season vs. last for all the aforementioned reasons. Really, the only thing that has regressed in his game has been his shot selection and FG% (correlation, no?). That said, Skiles has repeatedly said that Kirk's shot selection is fine, so maybe some of those early 3-pointers Kirk takes in the shot clock (and we all hated Jamal doing last year) is a result of the system.

Remember shooting 33% from 3PT is the same efficiency as shooting 50% from 2PT. Maybe Skiles is telling his best 3PT shooter on the floor if he has space in transition to take the shot. Personally, this isn't my style, but it could be Skiles style... I really don't know. If this is the case, then a lot of my comments on Jamal's shot selection last year were unwarranted (although he still had below average shot selection not counting those 3PT early in the clock).
 

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Nice analysis, Rhyder. I think the fact that he's been able to keep his assist numbers close to last years, while improving his turnover ratio, is greatly overlooked. That is pretty outstanding, considering he is spending more time at 2 than he did last year.

Of course, I'd like to see that shooting percentage up, but overall, you can't say much bad about Kirk and the way he's developing. Other] than his shooting percentage, it is my (mostly subjective) view that his game seems to be that of a journeyman 4+ year starting pro, rather than a mere sophomore.

If Ben's overall game continues to improve, and he can hold his own at both ends of the floor for starter minutes, this will be a pretty formidible backcourt, except of course, for that size thing...that we still don't really have a solution for.
 

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Rhyder said:
Offensively

Average to Down Slightly.

He went from not being able to throw an entry pass in the low post last season, to average at it this year. He started off the season terribly, but perhaps he has been taking lessons from Duhon and Pike (our best entry passers, followed by Deng).

Obviously he is taking more shots and shooting at a lower percentage, so his shooting has been the largest negative offensively. While Kirk is still pretty bad at getting to the line (see the Philly game on that 1on1 layup attempt), he has 30 more FTA in 12 less games, bringing his average up to slightly better than 3FTA per game. I'd like to see that number up around 5.

He is averaging 0.2 less assists per game, but his TOs are down 0.2 as well, so the assist/TO ratio has gotten better. He is 11th in the NBA in assists, and only plays about 1/2 to 2/3 of the game at the PG spot. When he and Duhon are in together, Duhon is running the offense about 75-80% of the time to start the game and the second half.

Defensively

Good improvement.

Kirk is not picking up a lot of ticky tack fouls that plagued him his rookie season. Yes, there have been games this year that calls have taken Kirk out of his game, but they are nowhere near the amount he was seeing last year. It seems that since the first Bulls winning streak, Kirk has been getting respect from the refs as being a good defender and has been getting some non-calls that would have been picked up last year.

His on the ball defense has made significant improvements as well. His hands are much more active. Last year, he rarely would knock the ball loose from a dribbling defender. Most of his steals came from good body defense forcing the ball loose or help on their bigs in the post. This season, most of his steals seem to come from the perimeter or off of offensive rebounds. Again, his hands are just that much more active defensively this season.

He has shown slight improvement in his player rotations. He was one of the few who played the zone well last year, and his player rotations seem a quarter to half a step quicker this season (as has the whole team). I don't think he has actively improved in this area. I think he is just more comfortable with the system and where he is supposed to be when.

Rebounding

Good Improvement

This is an obvious area of improvement. When the team is rebounding well, Kirk immediately goes to the outlet in order to try and push the ball. When the team has given up a couple of offensive boards, you often find that it is Kirk (or Duhon/Nocioni) picking up the slack. For a 6'3" PG averaging over 4 rebounds per game, we can't ask for a lot more. If Tyson were not on our team, I think Kirk would be pushing 5 boards a game (and no I'm not saying Tyson is stealing rebounds away from Kirk).

Intangibles

Outstanding Improvement.

I remember a post game interview last year towards the end of the season where Skiles said he asked in the huddle if anyone thought Kirk wasn't the leader of this team. No one said no, and Skiles told Kirk to go out and be that leader. Well folks, this is the season where we have seen that. Kirk is the floor general, and along with Tyson is the emotional leader. In only his second season, Kirk is your classic lead by example type of guy (and this attitude is what makes him my favorite player). No one can really debate that this is not Kirk's team, yet you'll never hear Kirk say anything but this is "our" team.

Overall

Average to Above Average Improvement

While offense is half the game, I still say he has improved this season vs. last for all the aforementioned reasons. Really, the only thing that has regressed in his game has been his shot selection and FG% (correlation, no?). That said, Skiles has repeatedly said that Kirk's shot selection is fine, so maybe some of those early 3-pointers Kirk takes in the shot clock (and we all hated Jamal doing last year) is a result of the system.

Remember shooting 33% from 3PT is the same efficiency as shooting 50% from 2PT. Maybe Skiles is telling his best 3PT shooter on the floor if he has space in transition to take the shot. Personally, this isn't my style, but it could be Skiles style... I really don't know. If this is the case, then a lot of my comments on Jamal's shot selection last year were unwarranted (although he still had below average shot selection not counting those 3PT early in the clock).
Very good analysis Rhyder :greatjob:

I'd add I do not expect 2nd year Kirk to improve as much as 4th year Curry.Kirk has been breathing BB since his birth. He ain't a 6-8 high flyer , he succeeds cause he knows the game and really wants to earn respect , therefor works as hard as one can.

But - I think the biggest improvement in Kirks game will come Just when he becomes only the 3rd option on offense (and thats the only area he really has to improve significantly , mostly in fg%). That might happen by 2 to 3 of our players (likely Ben,Eddy and Deng) will take over our offense , I believe every one of them playing 35 can score 20 points a game (next season??). The load offensively has to come of Kirk. He can score but ain't too efficient being the 1st option opponents concetrate on stopping. He'll take less shots (cause as for now , I'm quite sure Skiles tells him to keep shooting , otherwise he wouldn't be the only guy on our team playing many minutes) , and only have to take better ones.
I think when the day comes that we have improved offensive weapons (besides Kirk) , Kirk will still score around 15 points he'll just do it in less shots!
 

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bullsville said:
Nice analysis, Rhyder?
LOL

He said the exact same thing I said, only he typed a lot more words.

Just kidding, that was an excellent post Rhyder... of course, I could just be saying that because your analyses were the exact same as mine. :)
I actually hit the reply button right away before reading anyone's posts. I wanted to be objective, and not seem defensive. Nice to see our analyses match up pretty well :)
 

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I dont think there has been much change in his overall play since his play after the all star break last season skill wise outside of the rebounding improvement, he's gotten smarter about some things , you can see he is more comfortable out there than he was last year , where he was extremely predictable out there, almost never leaving from the assigned play and running them the same way everytime making him too easy to guard.

i look at him as a veteran out there and not as a young player , because he doesn't make young player mistakes out there , in his head is where i would say by far he's made the most improvement, of which i'd say he's made above average progress, especially since skiles has him playing more 2 guard this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The key here is if Hinrich can go back to playing 32-35 minutes a game at PG with Duhon backing him up he will be something really special. He is a solid #3 or #4 scorer. When Gordon and Curry become established #1 and #2 guys Kirks shooting percentage will go up. Having said that he is having a very good year that is going unnoticed by a lot of people.
 

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EDIT: honestly didn't mean to bump this. was looking at the newly designed bbb.net homepage and found this at the bottom in the articles section.

oops. but hey, why not bump it.

I GOT YOUR BACK BOO!

(lol)

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man this is an oldie but a goodie i guess.

cut to january 2006 and with the exception of his horrible slump in late december i would say that he's improved slightly.

would have been nice if skiles had played him at PG this whole time. then i think you could say he would have improved INCREDIBLY.

he still leads the team in assists and is the second leading scorer.

kirk is getting it done.

too bad we don't have a frontcourt that can say the same.
 

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Bags, to answer your question, simply, Yes. He has improved. He is certainly among the top 33% of the guards in the NBA and he is unquestionably the most consistent player on the roster. If he could just shoot 45%, and its annoying to me that he doesnt, he would be a flat out allstar. he has gone from the most overrated player on the roster to the most underrated. However, I dont see greatness, as in HOF greatness, anywhere in his future. He still has a major problem finishing at the rim (he had his shot stuffed in Minny by a 6-1 90 year old) and he is certainly not clutch, meaning he cant impose his will at the end of tight games. But if your looking for a 3rd or 4th player, he really could be that player. He is a keeper, but there is no reason to run out and extend him this summer. I think you only extend #1 options after their 3rd year.
 
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