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Friday September 22, 2006 4:39 pm

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 4, Pick 2

Kirk Hinrich can dunk?Round 4, Pick 2: Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls

Just about everyone remembers the top five of the 2003 NBA Draft:
1) LeBron James - The kid who became a man and found witnesses to his greatness almost immediately.
2) Darko Milicic - The other kid whose potential never surfaced until he found some Magic.
3) Carmelo Anthony - If LeBron has the potential to be one of the best ever and Wade has his ring, where will Melo fit in when all is said and done?
4) Chris Bosh - Smooth big man makes the game look easy and is reppin’ Canada to the fullest.
5) Dwyane Wade - The first to get a ring that showed just how good he could be during an amazing Finals run.

But what about those players outside this sphere of current and future greatness?  I bet most would forget that Chris Kaman was taken right after Wade at sixth overall.  It took him a little longer to break out, but he eventually did last season.  And at the seventh pick?  Well, he played well enough to join four of the top five picks (James, Anthony, Bosh, and Wade) on the All Rookie first team and finished in the top eight in total assists and assists per game average.  Of course, all you have to do is look at the picture to know who I’m talking about - Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  Just kidding.

This is all about Kirk Hinrich, his world, and the fact that we’re all squirrels in it just trying to get a nut.

Hinrich’s cloth is cut from the old school as he is all effort and determination.  He may not have the “royal quality” of LeBron or the “flash” of Wade, but Hinrich has made a solid reputation for himself as a tough competitor on both ends of the court who does what needs to be done to win.  Basically, his rep is the same as when he played collage ball at Kansas.  Although, I wish his shooting percentage from the field was as good as it was then.  For his career, Hinrich has only converted 40.2% of his field goal attempts in the NBA, while at Kansas, he shot 49.3%.  Imagine if Hinrich shot that well from the field?  He’d be the American version of Tony Parker… hmm… I wonder if that means he’d get to date the French version of Eva Longoria?  Well, anyway, at least Hinrich has improved his shooting from the free-throw line.  A career 77.6% shooter from the charity stripe in college, Hinrich is averaging a 80.5% rate in the NBA, with a high of 81.5% last season.  So, what do these percentages mean?  They’re pretty much classic old school point guard - shoot mostly from the perimeter (every now and then dunking past Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Eric Williams) and nail shots from the line.

And just like an old school point guard, Hinrich can drop some dimes.  Granted not on a Steve Nash level, but really, who can do that besides Nash himself and with new additions to the New Orleans Hornets, Chris Paul?  Considering the type of team Hinrich plays for, ie. not an explosive offense such as the Suns, Hinrich does well in the assists category.  Last season he averaged 6.4 apg, which was ranked 15th in the league.  The 6.4 apg average was the same that he had in the ‘04-‘05 season, so Hinrich is pretty consistent in finding the open man.  So, while the assists aren’t anything mind blowing, the thing that separates Hinrich is that he can also put up the points.  Big deal you say?  Yes, in today’s NBA, point guards such as Gilbert Arenas, Allen Iverson, and Mike Bibby can score anywhere from 20-33 points per game, but looking at Hinrich’s scoring average last season of 15.9, there are only three point guards who averaged more points AND assists (combined) than Hinrich - the aforementioned Iverson, Paul, and Nash.  Hinrich is one of those point guards that is a good blend of a scorer and a passer.

Looking at the same group of Iverson, Paul, and Nash, only Nash averages more treys made per game (1.9) than Hinrich (1.6).  Iverson only makes 1.0 triples a game and Paul a low 0.6.  So, adding the element of outside shooting from beyond the arch, Hinrich is hanging right there with the current NBA MVP. 

Again, using this same trio, let’s look at another category in which point guards usually excel in - steals.  Right out of the box, Nash is at the bottom as he doesn’t even average one per game (0.8).  The amazing Chris Paul leads the pack at 2.2 spg, Iverson at second with 1.9, and then Hinrich at 1.3.  Hinrich, in general, is a very good defender, which is appropriate because the addition of free agent PF/C Ben Wallace, this team will probably look to do what the Detroit Pistons did during their Bad Boys days and when Larry Brown coached them to a title - lay the defensive smackdown on teams. 

In any case, considering how good overall Hinrich is when put up against the top point guards in the league, Hinrich gives your fantasy basketball team great overall value with the only real detriment being his FG%.  His rebounding average of 3.6 per game isn’t too bad from the one spot and of course, his 0.3 bpg is to be expected considering his position.  Again, overall, Hinrich is an excellent option at the point guard slot and even qualifies at the two.

And according to Basketball-Reference.com, guess who Hinrich’s ‘05-‘06 season compares most to… the ‘03-‘04 season of Chauncey Billups.  And we all know how Billups trended as a player from then to now.  It’s not crazy to think that Hinrich could do the same.

How He Fits On This Fantasy Basketball Team

Ah, a guard… I needed one of those.  I took Hinrich here mostly for his assists, triples made, and percentage from the line, although, he’ll heartily contribute to points and an already rock solid category of steals, what with Kirilenko and Artest on the team.  Hinrich’s position flexibility also gives me some room to just take the most talented guard next time I deem I should need one, instead of having to take a PG or SG.  The team is balancing out well and should be a force in both ROTO and H2H as all the players compliment each other in not only categories, but positions as well.

Other Team Members

1.11. Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets
2.2. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Utah Jazz
3.11. Ron Artest, SF, Sacramento Kings

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