Kirk Hinrich returns to Chicago
Kirk Hinrich received a huge ovation from Chicago Bulls fans when he was announced Friday at United Center. Hinrich spent the first seven years of his career in Chicago before he was dealt to Washington, along with Kevin Seraphin, a few hours before the NBA draft. He admitted that it was "a little weird" being back in familiar surroundings as a visitor.
"Being in the other locker room, not ever seeing it before. This is the first time," Hinrich told reporters before the game. "It was weird the first time I put on this uniform. But I got over that. The organization has been great to me. We're young. But we have a lot of enthusiasm and guys are trying to do the right thing."
With the Wizards utilizing their three-point-guard set for the third game in a row, the 6-foot-3 Hinrich is playing small forward and was matched up against his former teammate Luol Deng, who is about six inches taller than Hinrich. Coach Flip Saunders said he have to "wait and see" how long he will use Hinrich at his new position, but won't make a change so long as it's effective. "It's been interesting," Hinrich said. "We play a lot of zone and we want to get up and down the floor. I was a little shocked at first but I'm just happy to be out there."
And Bulls fans appeared excited to see Hinrich back, as he was cheered after making his only three-point field goal in the first half. He finished with four points in 28 minutes. Hinrich is in a new place, but a familiar role as mentor to the No. 1 overall pick. After moving off the ball and tutoring Derrick Rose the past two seasons, he now has John Wall. "He and Derrick are both special type athletes," Hinrich said. "Their personalities are different. It's still so early that it's hard to compare."
But he added that Wall has a lot of potential. "He has the ability to be a great player in this league. Already he's proven that he's going to be pretty dang good right off the bat," Hinrich said. "He's got that special type athleticism you don't see often at the point guard position."
Hinrich understands that he was sacrificed for the Bulls to make a failed attempt at either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, or both. But he again reiterated his initial surprise about getting traded to Washington. "I was a little bit shocked. I don't know why but it caught me off guard," Hinrich said. "Initially, you have mixed emotions. But I was able to get over those fairly easily. And I realized I could have a fresh start."
And, despite the youth and inexperience on his new team, Hinrich isn't ruling out the rebuilding Wizards' ability to be competitive in the Eastern Conference. "Nobody expects us to do anything," Hinrich said. "We talk about that as a team. We talk about playing hard and competing every night. If we do that, we have a chance to surprise."
| October 8, 2010; 10:38 PM ET
Categories: Kirk Hinrich
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