NBA Free Agency 2012: The Lakers Should Target Kirk Hinrich

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 14:  Kirk Hinrich #6 of the Atlanta Hawks starts a break against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on March 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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After the Los Angeles Lakers completed a sign-and-trade which brought in Steve Nash for a number of draft picks, the "Lakeshow" became a title contender again.

However, Los Angeles is still not on the level of the younger, more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder.

Nash, while one of the best playmakers in the league, will struggle to defend Russell Westbrook, who might be one of the most physically-gifted point guards in NBA history.

With the team not getting any younger, the next few seasons will be "championship or bust."

That is why they need to get a perimeter defender at an affordable salary.

This is where Kirk Hinrich comes in.

The nine-year pro out of Kansas has been one of the more consistent bench players over the past few years, especially during his time in Atlanta.

While his scoring ability have waned considerably, Hinrich is still an excellent defender who has the ability to slow down any guard in the league.

In addition, Hinrich has a lot of postseason experience, having played in 46 playoff games while with Chicago and Atlanta.

For a team that wants to win a title, it is imperative that the roster is composed of playoff veterans, who understand the pressures and intricacies of postseason play.


The Lakers also need a backup point guard and Hinrich will be one of the better backups in the league. While Steve Blake is a solid three-point shooter, he is a defensive liability.

Blake has been a massive disappointment for the Lakers, and signing Hinrich gives general manager Mitch Kupchak justification to use the amnesty clause on the former Maryland point guard, although Metta World Peace might be a better candidate for it.

In the worst case, it gives Los Angeles depth at the point, making a position once considered a weakness a strength.

What seals the deal is the fact that Hinrich will definitely not ask for much. He is entering the phase of his career when he is searching for a championship rather than trying to get the biggest payday.

Coming from a competitive college background, Hinrich had been around a winning attitude throughout the early part of his career.

Bringing in the veteran point guard would put the Lakers one step closer to dethroning not only the Thunder, but also the NBA champion Miami Heat.