NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Ways Kirk Hinrich Changes the Bulls Offense
Signing Hinrich would certainly cost the Bulls, but Hinrich is the kind of veteran bench player that the Bulls lacked last season, and he's the kind of tough-nosed player Chicago would love to have on their roster.
Aside from bringing "rec specs" back to Chicago for the first time since Hinrich was a Bull and since Horace Grant graced the United Center, there are a number of welcomed changes that Hinrich would bring to the Bulls' offense, ranging from increased facilitation off the bench to an ability to spread the floor with his perimeter shooting.
Ahead are five changes that Kirk Hinrich would bring to the offense if the Bulls are able to sign him this offseason.
Veteran Production off the Bench
The Chicago Bulls' second unit was aptly named the "bench mob", and for good reason. The Bulls had one of the deepest benches in the NBA, and their depth was the foundation of their success throughout the entire 2011-'12 season.
With players like Omer Asik, Taj Gibson, C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver and John Lucas, the Bulls also had one of the younger benches in the NBA. Their youth was evident during their playoff run when they were without their fearless leader, Derrick Rose.
Kirk Hinrich would bring a much needed level of veteran experience to the Bulls' second unit. That veteran experience would hopefully translate into offensive production, but more importantly it would translate into experience and mentoring for younger players, including the Bulls' lone rookie, Marquis Teague.
Hinrich's mentoring of younger players, while providing veteran production off the bench, is something the Bulls would greatly benefit from. It's also something that would certainly help them while Rose sits out for the first few months of the season.
Increased Reliance on Perimeter Shooting
Kirk Hinrich was never known to be a prolific scorer, and the Bulls certainly wouldn't expect him to be one if they signed him.
What Hinrich is known for though is his efficiency on the perimeter.
During his seven years with the Bulls, Hinrich shot 38 percent from beyond the arc while putting up an average of 4.2 three-point field goals per game.
That kind of long-range shooting certainly isn't setting the basketball world on fire, but it's more efficient than what the Bulls currently have on their bench at the 1 and 2 positions.
Hinrich's three-point shooting will help the Bulls stretch the court, which in turn will allow players like John Lucas and Derrick Rose (once he returns) to have an easier route into the paint.
Drive-and-Dish Penetration off the Bench
One of Kirk Hinrich's biggest strengths on offense is his ability to facilitate the ball to his teammates off of penetration into the paint.
For a player who stands at just 6'4'' and 190 pounds, Hinrich has an impressive level of physicality in his game and a toughness in the way he attacks on the offensive end.
John Lucas, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer weren't terrible last year when they came off the bench, but the one thing they lacked was a true ability to drive into the paint and find teammates open on the perimeter.
Hinrich does that well, and bringing that ability to the floor will make the the Bulls an even more versatile and dangerous team.
Reinforcing the Bulls' Physical Approach to the Game
Last season, the Chicago Bulls had the top-ranked defense in the entire NBA, allowing an average of just 88 points per game. The reason behind their stingy total was due to the physicality that both the starting rotation and the second unit brought to the court on the defensive side of the ball.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, that physicality didn't always transfer to offense, and that's why they were unable to beat the more physical teams in the Eastern Conference.
Hinrich can help transition that defensive tenacity to the offensive side of the ball for the Bulls; that is the way he constantly approaches the game.
It may be because he's a smaller player, or it might just be because he's a tough player, but the one thing you'll always get from Hinrich is intensity, hustle and physicality on both sides of the ball.
That's something the Bulls need, and something that will make them a more complete team heading into the 2012-'13 season.
Increased Pacing and Focus from the 2nd Unit
Kirk Hinrich isn't an elite player in any aspects of his game, but he does a lot of things well, including controlling the pace and flow of the game.
Hinrich's experience in the NBA has crafted him into a skilled point guard who knows when it's time to force the pace of the game and when it's time to hold back.
That is something the Bulls didn't have last season when Rose wasn't on the floor, and it's something that they certainly need coming off the bench if they want to be competitive in a very tough Eastern Conference.
Of all the ways Hinrich would change the Bulls' offense, this is the most important, and it happens to be what he does best.
Even if the Bulls have to pay more than they want to for Hinrich, bringing him back to Chicago is something that would pay dividends down the stretch of the 2012-'13 season.