Feb 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) motions during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Bulls beat the Raptors 94-92. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Season in Review: Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich’s second stint as a Chicago Bulls hasn’t gone that great considering last season’s never ending string of injuries. This past season had potential to be different with Derrick Rose’s return, but, as we all know, that return was quite incomplete. Hinrich was then back in the starting point guard position he wasn’t intended to have. Even so, this past season turned out to be Hinrich’s best since leaving the Windy City.

Pre All-Star Break

Early on in the season, the 2013-14 season didn’t seem much different from that of the 2012-13 season in terms of Hinrich’s shooting. He played the first 21 regular season games of the season before missing the next five with a back injury. In those 21 games, he only shot 33.7 percent from the field and an even worse 29.1 percent on 3-pointers.

That back injury was also just one of two injuries Hinrich suffered this past season. The other one was an injured right hamstring, which only caused him to miss four games. When he returned from that injury, though, Hinrich came off the bench while D.J. Augustin started, but that only lasted for two games.

During the 43 games he did compete in, Hinrich shot 36.4 percent from the field and 28.8 percent on threes. Despite that, he managed to average 8.3 points along with 4.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals.

Post All-Star Break

All-Star break must have treated Hinrich well, because once he returned from it, his shooting surely improved. In the first 10 games back, he shot 50.0 percent from the field and an even more impressive 53.3 percent from behind the arc. His scoring average hit double figures at 11.4 points per game, but his assists were cut significantly to 2.2 per game; however, it is worth mentioning this was also the time when Noah was racking up assists consistently, which isn’t to say Hinrich wasn’t doing his job as a point guard, but Noah was acting more as a playmaker.

Hinrich’s shooting percentages didn’t remain that high throughout the remainder of the regular season, but he did improve upon them. For the final 30 regular season games, his field goal percentage averaged out to be 42.8 while shooting 43.7 percent on 3-pointers. Along with the increased efficiency, Hinrich also played more productively. He went from averaging 8.3 points per game to 10.3 points.

Playoffs

In terms of offense, Hinrich actually performed decently, as he averaged 11.0 points and 4.4 assists in five games. His 36.8 percent on threes could have used some work, but an overall field goal percentage of 41.1 percent is pretty good. Oddly enough, it was Hinrich’s defense that really needed some help, but, then again, he was matched up with the younger John Wall.

At 33, Hinrich’s best defense wasn’t enough to slow down Wall, but, really, no one on the team was able to do so — not when Jimmy Butler was already preoccupied with stopping Bradley Beal.

Season Highlight

Hinrich scored his season-high 19 points twice this past regular season, but the more impressive performance came during the Bulls’ 111-87 win over the Houston Rockets on March 13. In 30:19, Captain Kirk shot 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-6 on 3-pointers. Along with that, he also dished out four assists, grabbed one rebound, retrieved two steals, had one block and was a game-high plus-31.

Season Lowlight

Somehow, Hinrich avoided having any scoreless games this past season, but he certainly came close to it on various occasions. One of those games came in Chicago’s 78-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 10. After playing 39:55, Hinrich failed to make any of his 10 field goal attempts, but managed to score one point off a split pair of free throws.

Overall

The 2013-14 season was a pretty solid one for Hinrich, especially this late into his career. He only had two injuries (and a concussion in preseason) and was able to play in 73 of the 82 regular season games, the most games he’s played since before leaving Chicago.

For the regular season as a whole, the veteran guard from Kansas shot 39.3 percent from the field (an improvement from the 37.7 percent of the 2012-13 season), but only connected on 35.1 percent of his 3-point attempts (worse than the previous 39.0 percent).

He increased his scoring to 9.1 points per game and maintained his rebound and steal averages of 2.6 and 1.1, respectively. His assists did go down to 3.9 a game, and he didn’t set up the offense as well as he did in 2012-13, but he didn’t really need to with the playmaking abilities Joakim Noah showed (though it would have been nice).

Even so, Hinrich still did a decent job acting as a combo guard, acting as the starting point guard and playing the two alongside Augustin when necessary. He remained relatively healthy, withstood the 29.0 minutes per game, played good defense and improved his shooting as the season went on.

Final Grade: B

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