NBA Trades: Does Kirk Hinrich Improve Atlanta Hawks' Title Hopes?

Joey HnathCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18:  Kirk Hinrich #12 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center on December 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. 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 Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks traded guard Mike Bibby, forward Maurice Evans, guard Jordan Crawford and a 2011 first round pick for guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Hilton Armstrong.

Overall, this deal is a good upgrade for the Hawks. Bibby has really shown his age this season, and is averaging only nine points and three assists per game.

Hinrich's stats are a slight upgrade from Bibby's. He is averaging 11 points per game while dishing out 4.5 assists per game. In Washington's 14 wins this season, Hinrich is averaging more assists while playing fewer minutes.

This bodes well for the 34-23 Hawks, as they will call on Hinrich to distribute the ball to Joe Johnson and company.

Not only does this deal help the Hawks' point guard situation, it improves their defense as well.

Bibby was not a great defender for Atlanta. With the acquisition of Hinrich, the Hawks now have a solid defensive point guard that can disrupt the play of some of the Eastern Conference's elite point guards.

Though this trade helps the Atlanta Hawks and improves their team, it doesn't make them title contenders.

As things stand right now, the Hawks would face the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs. In 2010, the Magic swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, winning all four games by at least 14 points.

The main problem the Hawks faced in the series, as well as this season, was the inability to contain Dwight Howard. Al Horford is great, but he is more of a power forward. The Hawks need to acquire a center to pit against Howard while shifting Horford to power forward.

If the Hawks don't draw the Magic, the Bulls or Knicks would await them. These two series would be a better matchup for the Hawks, but the lack of a true center would hurt their chances of advancing.

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics would overpower the Hawks in a playoff series, so discussing how the Hawks would matchup against Western Conference powers such as the Lakers or Spurs is a moot point.

Even though Kirk Hinrich improves the Atlanta Hawks, until they acquire a true center they will not be a threat to win the title and their ceiling will be the Eastern Conference Semifinals.