I am by no means am a Kirk Hinrich advocate. However I do feel the man takes a little more criticism than he deserves for the recent struggles the Bulls are going through. Criticism that some feel he deserves for only playing in just 3 games during the month of February. Criticism for showing up in those three games in which the Bulls played Phoenix, N.O. Hornets (or Pelicans) and the Kyrieless Cavs. But yet Kirk failed to play any games during the month of February against a team that was in the Playoff hunt or even a team with a winning percentage remotely close to .500.
Does Kirk deserve the credit for harsh basketball times in the Windy City? I for one cannot bring myself to fall on the anti-Kirk band wagon just yet and here’s why. People fail to mention that Kirk wasn’t brought here to set the world on fire and take the Bulls to a place they haven’t been since the Jordan years. No, Kirk was brought here to manage the offense until Derrick Rose came back. Then he would slide in his role as a back up PG. A roll in which he would make the second unit run a lot smother offensively and effectively than in past years with C.J. Watson or JL3 running the point. It’s just Derrick’s injury is taking a little longer than any of us would have hoped for and we as Bulls fans are getting a little anxious. And now with Boozer playing what some believe his best basketball since joining the Bulls in 2010 Chicago fans now need a fall guy and Kirk is just the man for the job it seems.
Let’s not forget the month of January before we go throwing Kirk under the bus to far. A month in which Thibs was named Coach of the Month. A month in which the Bulls went 12-4 and Kirk missed only one game. One! That one game was against the Bucks in which the Bulls lost 104-96. In that month the Bulls had some very impressive wins against Miami, NYK, Atl, Bos, Lakers, and the Warriors. Games in which Kirk played in. A lot of talk lately is that Kirk plays only against the bad teams and is afraid to play the “better” teams in the NBA. Well remember the month of January and who Kirk showed up to play against.
Kirk is 32 years old and in his 9th season. His body as never been very durable and as we all know when you are an NBA player past the 30yr hump your game, speed, athleticism, and health tend to go downhill. Chicago fans I ask of you let’s not through out Kirk hate as often as we do. The Bulls are clearly a better team with him when healthy. Sadly he is our most efficient 3pt shooter at 39%. He makes our offense run smoother. Seems to make the right plays MOST of the time. Although I will admit he does take a few ill-advised runners from time to time. If he can get health I feel the Bulls have a really good stretch of basketball coming. Possibly another January in the making. Although the recent news of him being in a walking boot doesn’t seem so promising. We as Chicago fans sometime overlook the small picture of what a guy does for a team and only focus on what he doesn’t do when things go wrong.
The Bulls struggles in my eyes are plain and simple. They are flat-out worn down. They don’t have their MVP to fall back on when it’s time to grind it out in a close game down the stretch. They have had the luxury in the past when shit hits the fan to just give the ball to Derrick. He knows what to do. Now you are seeing Joakim having to play an average of 38 mpg up 10 minutes from his career average. Deng playing his usual heavy work load we have all come a custom to seeing night in and night out. What makes this year so different is he is having to play a lot of his minutes at the PF spot. Guarding guys in the post that out weigh him by 20+ pounds. Management made some good moves this offseason bringing in Nate over JL3. Hinrich in my eyes is a step up from C.J. when it comes to running the team and “setting up the offense.” And Jimmy is clearly a bright spot over Ronnie Brewer. The two terrible moves I see that were made are more apparent now then ever is, getting rid of Kyle instead of Rip. And letting Asik go just to save money on the luxury tax which they ended up paying anyways. Now the front court depth is skin and bones. And Rip seems to be at that point in the season in which his 34-year-old body is going to break down and be of no use to the Bulls down the stretch.
So lets keep your head up Chicago! We just signed a back-up big man in Lou Amundson. Joakim is playing out of his mind right now and putting the team on his back. And DRose is closer with each day that passes. He is joining the team on the bench now and it will be only a matter of time before we wake up one morning with the greatest comeback news to hit Chicago since 1995 with the words “I’m Back.”