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Kirk Hinrich's homecoming was incomplete

By Michael Lee

Kirk Hinrich had a partial homecoming on Saturday in Chicago, since he was able to visit his former place of employment -- albeit in unusual quarters -- but unable to actually go to his suburban house. With the Wizards arriving in the early morning, on the second end of back-to-back games, Hinrich only had time to play the Bulls, which made the 103-96 loss at United Center a little unsettling.


Forget a DVD, I really wanted a win. (AP Photo)

His disappointment was revealed when he was asked how the Wizards came back from an 18-point second-half deficit late in the fourth quarter. "We started playing hard -- which we need to do all the time," he said.

Hinrich isn't exactly an "icon" in Chicago, as Coach Flip Saunders called him before the game, but he is certainly beloved, since fans gave him a standing ovation when he was announced last during introductions. There also were frequent chants of "Captain," whenever he made an inbounds pass or took a shot.

Hinrich is not one for being sentimental, so it wasn't surprising that he never lifted his head when a video montage of his seven years with the Bulls played on the screen above the court. He only looked up when it was completed, as fans again rose to give him a huge ovation. Probably realizing that Hinrich wouldn't watch a video during the game, the Bulls gave him a DVD to take home with him.

"I'm not really comfortable with it," Hinrich said of the attention, "but it was nice."

The Bulls sacrificed Hinrich before the draft in order to make a run at LeBron James or Dwyane Wade or both this summer. The gamble turned up snake eyes, but the organization honored Hinrich with some class, which is a little funny since Wade ripped the Bulls during the free agent recruiting period last summer for showing little loyalty to their former players.

After the game, Hinrich embraced many of his former teammates, and spent several minutes with Derrick Rose. "I got a lot of relationships with people in that organization and guys on that team," said Hinrich, who added that Joakim Noah lives right down the street from him. "They have a lot of new guys, but Joakim, Derek, Luol [Deng], [James Johnson], Taj [Gibson], it's always good to see those guys."

Hinrich tries not to think about how everything turned out since he was dealt, with the Bulls whiffing on James and Wade, signing Carlos Boozer and several former Utah Jazz players (Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver), and filling their shooting guard position with D.C. native and journeyman Keith Bogans. Hinrich admitted that he was "blindsided" by the team, but he is trying to move on despite going from a playoff team to a rebuilding situation.

"You knew coming into the summer anything could happen," he said. "I understand what they were trying to do. I talked to [Bulls executives John Paxson and Gar Forman]. I know those guys pretty well, so when we talk, it is not too much about business."

Hinrich was also asked about his current team, which is struggling in the early going. "You got a lot of athletic ability and a lot of guys who can play. But everybody in the league has great players, teams that win games are teams that defend, rebound and play together, that's the point we're trying to get to."

While talking about how pleased he has been with the feisty eighth-year guard, Saunders said what Hinrich would probably never admit about the Bulls. "I'm sure he looks and says, 'I can be on that team.' "

Hinrich nearly snuck out of the locker room after the game, but a mob of reporters cornered him and asked how strange it was to be a visitor in a place that he called home. "Yeah, it was weird. It would've been nice to get a win, because we need one bad. The whole time I was just trying to concentrate when coming in here and playing, just trying to stay focused on the game."

It was perhaps easier since he was forced to stay in the team hotel, rather than his house. He probably won't get the chance when the Wizards go back on the second end of another back-to-back on March 15. But don't worry about Hinrich's house, where he still plans on living in the offseason. He said he has people looking after it to make sure it doesn't collect cobwebs. "I guess it's doing all right -- hopefully," he said. "I'm not really upset about it, because even if I got in at 5 o'clock at night, it's not like I get to spend a lot of time. I'm still indifferent about it."

By Michael Lee  | November 14, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
Categories:  Kirk Hinrich  
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Next: Pattern developing for gimpy Wizards

Comments

LOL this is probably one of those guys the Wiz fans won't appreciate til he's gone.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 14, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I can see why Saunders and Grunfeld appreciate having the guy on the floor and in the locker room.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 14, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

"Again, saw this movie before with Eddie Jordan and Brendon Haywood. Same plot but this time different actors....."
Posted by: BulletsFever | November 14, 2010 7:44 PM

Would that be the same Brendan Haywood who, after being traded to Dallas to be their presumptive starter was quickly relegated to the bench in favor of 103-year-old Erick Dampier? The same Brendan Haywood who, less than a week after signing a fat new contract with the Mavericks, saw the Mavs trade Dampier for yet another starting C, who, like Dampier, has taken over the job that was supposed to be Haywood's, relegating him to the bench?

Or are you talking about a different Brendan Haywood?

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 14, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Nope, I'm talking about the Brendon Haywood you just described, not a different one. For the record, my main beef with Eddie J. was not solely his refusal for playing Brendan Haywood, but it was his crazy insistance at not playing him in favor of Etan Thomas. This is the same Thomas who is starting to bounce around the league now.

If there was somebody here better then Haywood at the time, then you would not have heard a peep out of me about Haywood's minutes. Now, that brings me to Mr. Haywood's situation in Dallas which you referenced. It is not a bad mark on Haywood that his spot has been taken by Tyson Chandler. TC has grown bigtime in his development and he is now a legit starting "5" in the league.

Again, Dampier is not that bad either. So Haywood being beat out by Dampier should not be considered a negative on Haywood. The Mav's must of thought the guy was bringing something to the table because as you said they signed him to a "fat contract" (which I myself thought was too high for him at his age and skill set).

Now I say all of this to bring my plane in for a landing. Is anyone here, including you, going to tell me Hilton Armstrong or Yi a better option at the "5" then Javele McGee.....????? Again, it is not about who the player is for me. It is about putting the best center that you have on the team out on the court in crunch time.

Flip seems to have gotten into the same type of "I am the master of the universe" mumble jumble coaching style Eddie J was spilling on Haywood. Things seem like they may have become personal, and that has no place in the workplace (basketball)...........

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 14, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Learly, Kalorama and Samson 1 are fans of Kirk's. Kirk appears to be a good guy and is a solid role player. But he should not be a starter on this team and has played a susch. He has filled in admirably while Srenas has gotten his legs. His defense, supposedly his calling card, has been signifcantly less than advertised. In fact it has been poor.

Your pontification about Saundrers and Grunfeld's opinion of Kirk is reflective of their mediocre skill set.

Posted by: NewManagement | November 14, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

can see why Saunders and Grunfeld appreciate having the guy on the floor and in the locker room.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 14, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abus

I can too, however his time on the floor should be balanced also. Sometimes Flip sticks with him a bit too long when maybe he should be giving NY or Martin some of those minutes.

I have nothing against Kirk, and I agreed with the pickup over the summer. However when I saw Hinrich having the worse game of his life against Cleveland, where he was turning the ball over left and right, missing wideopen "j's", getting burned by Mo Williams, blowing drives and etc; and was still allowed to stay in the game blew my mind.....!!!!

Now, don't let that have been Nick Young or Javelle McGee making those kinds of mistakes....(sigh). You know what would have happened to them....??? All I am saying is can we please get a coach that plays the "best 5" and who do not play favorites...???

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 14, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"Learly, Kalorama and Samson 1 are fans of Kirk's. Kirk appears to be a good guy and is a solid role player. But he should not be a starter on this team and has played a susch. He has filled in admirably while Srenas has gotten his legs...Your pontification about Saundrers and Grunfeld's opinion of Kirk is reflective of their mediocre skill set.Posted by: NewManagement"

LOL no offense but there's either something wrong with your keyboard or you've developed a mean case of letter dyslexia.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 14, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I love wall because of his focus and sense of personal responsibility. When asked about the toll of playing 3 games in 4 nights, he somehow turned the conversation toward "needing to do more layup drills"

Posted by: crs-one | November 14, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Kirk's definitely a lightning rod around here. We're not nine games into the season, and he's already drawing the same sort of perseverating complaint that took Oberto and Songaila half a year to earn -- and DeShawn even longer. They're even the same sort of gripes -- he doesn't score, he can't jump, worst of all he's on the court instead of our favorites (Gil and Nick in this case). Allows the disappointed to avoid the reality that the team as a whole is performing about as well as most pundits predicted prior to the season.

Oh well, I guess that's what passes for commentary these days.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 14, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Gil/Wall has potential to become among the best guard tandems in league. Gil/L Hughes was one of the best tandems because EJ allowed both players to compliment each others game. Kirk is a starter on this team because Flip's style doesn't envision two guards with similar style to play together.

Posted by: zack5 | November 15, 2010 3:02 AM | Report abuse

"It ain't always the Centers fault when someone elses man gets a layup."

Yes it is, because with the current rules, it's all but impossible for perimeter defenders to to keep top flight odd the dribble scorers under control in 1-on-1 defense the entire game. Even the best defenders are going to get beaten. The no hand-checking rules made sure of that. And when someone gets beaten on the perimeter, it's the Cs job to rotate in help defense and protect the rim.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 14, 2010 9:54 PM

Well no, it would not be just the Cs job to rotate in help defense and protect the rim. If that is the philosophy that Flip is working off of, then it is no wonder that McGee/the Wizs can't protect the basket.

Protecting the basket is the job of three men together and not one. The rotation of the C along with his two forwards is paramount in good interior play and protection of the basket. Then you couple that with good coordination of strong guard play.

Any team that believes that the C is only responsible for the basket is doomed to failure, like the Wizards.

Just for the reasons you site Kalo_ramo, it is impossible for the C to only be responsible for the basket, for at any given time and sit' on the floor he may not be in the proper position to protect the rim.

It must be a collective effort of interior big man and the team to protect the basket with todays volatile game.

The days of the C being the last line of D at the hoop is long gone. Post players too include the 2 Fs don't hang out in the paint nowadays. In fact they spread the floor just so in fact the basket is free to allow free reign to it.

McGee just can't hang at the rim and guard his man too. The basket must be protected by positioning on the floor and when the basket is attacked it may not be that the C has or is in the most advantageous position in todays game.

It appears from your comment Kalo_rama that you don't understand today's interior play very well and apparently Flip Saunders doesn't either, with his penchant not to shore up his Big Man game on the floor.

Flip likes playing with two forwards and hope they can guard the rim. I like playing with a Center and two forwards that can help each other guard the rim.

Check out LA, Boston, San Antonio, Miami, Detroit, Houston, teams that have won NBA championships with a C and two forwards.

Where in the hell does the Wizards get off using two forwards to protect the rim when it has never been done before, or even only two bigs.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 15, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

It appears that Kirk is still bitter inside about being hosed and passed off by the Bulls after he really thought he was their girl at the same time, they're courting a couple of "sexier" girls. Blind sided and let down, he's offered a DVD of past love to remind him that they had a "special" relationship! Sorry Kirk, this is the NBA and the "cut throats" work in the front office!

Posted by: zack5 | November 15, 2010 3:27 AM | Report abuse

And is it any wonder that the Hinrich protagonist and the 3-guard proponents are quick to moan and groan about McGee and Blatche not being tough down low and protecting the basket.

Running with mostly forwards and no center and the three guard offense would give you about the results defensively we are getting from this team.

Yet, Flip keeps scapegoating McGee for his own ineffective coaching scheme.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 15, 2010 3:46 AM | Report abuse

Yet, Flip keeps scapegoating McGee for his own ineffective coaching scheme.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 15, 2010 3:46 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with this. Last year there was no good reason why Oberto got more playing time than Mcgee. He would be that much better if he had.

Posted by: bobilly1 | November 15, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

"And is it any wonder that the Hinrich protagonist.."

What's the Hinrich protagonist?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

"Last year there was no good reason why Oberto got more playing time than Mcgee."posted by: bobilly1

I thought this was strange when I read it. McGee averaged 16.6 minutes, Oberto 11.4.

If you recall, when Oberto was signed, the GM said it was to play about 12 minutes a game off the bench. After Haywood was gone, both he and McGee found their minutes went up.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, that's 16.06 minutes for McGee, the Yahoo website takes the numbers out two places rather than one. McGee is averaging a little under 24 minutes through the 8 games this year.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Anybody notice that Phoenix hit 22 threes to beat the Lakers last night? That's either a record or close to it.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Larry, Larry, Larry.

"Acquiscence"? (Seriously, learn how to use spell check.)

In the future, if you really want to "acquisce" when someone crushes your argument, there' a simple way to do it. Here, I'll make it easy for you. All you have to do is copy and paste the following:

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 14, 2010 5:58 PM


Kalo_rama, maybe you should take your own advise and use spell check as well. "Acquisce" is also incorrect. I quess you are human after all.

Posted by: spades72 | November 15, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

While talking about how pleased he has been with the feisty eighth-year guard, Saunders said what Hinrich would probably never admit about the Bulls. "I'm sure he looks and says, 'I can be on that team.'

I don't think I've ever heard a coach compliment one of his players on wishing they played for someone else.

Posted by: divi3 | November 15, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It's from Shakespeare. And a welcome reminder that there's more to life than just B-ball."
Posted by: KTV1 | November 14, 2010 2:10 PM


Gee, thanks Prof. Of course, I knew it was a Shakespeare reference. What made no sense was the context in which he used the reference and the point he was trying to make by doing so.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 14, 2010 2:17 PM

"You ceded that my facts destroyed your argument but then (and I'm half guessing here because your actual post, as always, defies linguistic analysis) claimed that the premise of your argument was still valid, despite the fact that the argument had been proven completely wrong. But given that the premise of your argument was "Flip Saunders is a terrible coach and the way he ruined Ben Wallace proves it" my factual deconstruction of your argument torpedoes your "premise" dead center."

Posted by: kalo_rama

In the case of Ben Wallace declined performance, Larry conceded that the charge bears little relationship to the facts but still stand on the charge that Flip Saunders is not a good coach. People accuse people of stuff all the time even when the evidence says otherwise. I think what Larry is saying is, perception is reality.

Posted by: spades72 | November 15, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"Acquisce" is also incorrect." posted by spades72

I think that's why he put it in quotes.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"In the case of Ben Wallace declined performance, Larry conceded that the charge bears little relationship to the facts but still stand on the charge that Flip Saunders is not a good coach. People accuse people of stuff all the time even when the evidence says otherwise. I think what Larry is saying is, perception is reality.Posted by: spades72"

I'm not following this reasoning. Are you saying that Larry is right in accusing Flip of ruining Ben Wallace, even though it's not supported by the facts? Based on the fact that others (some of whom are probably not very bright) accused him of it?

Personally, I thought Ben Wallace's big mistake was following the big bucks to Chicago. He seemed to be hurt much of the time and his numbers fell off. He wasn't much better in Cleveland. Going back to Detroit seems to have revitalized him. I wish the guy well, the NBA needs more players like him.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Yet, Flip keeps scapegoating McGee for his own ineffective coaching scheme.
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

John Townsend on Truth About it takes a long look at McGee and ends with "In the end with McGee, it was the same old story. All sizzle and no steak."

Unfortunately, I think he's right.

Posted by: nmik | November 15, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Yet, Flip keeps scapegoating McGee for his own ineffective coaching scheme."

This is my biggest issue with the whole McGee thing. Flip rips him either directly or indirectly after every game for the mistakes that Javale makes which I guess some coaches do, but will find a way to praise others when they haven't played well.

Maybe this is Flip's way of motivating Javale but I don't know if this is the best way to handle a young player? Javale is the only inside presence on the floor when he's in the game (although not a great one) as Blatche and Yi are defensive unicorns our there.

It looks as if Flip does not respect Javale on a deep level and feels obligated to play him only because he's a young piece that EG drafted. I believe this problem will show its true face soon as one of the two will erupt. Stay tuned.

Posted by: zxhoya | November 15, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

It looks as if Flip does not respect Javale on a deep level and feels obligated to play him only because he's a young piece that EG drafted. I believe this problem will show its true face soon as one of the two will erupt. Stay tuned.

Posted by: zxhoya | November 15, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I got EpicVale punching Flip inhis mug for talkin that bamma isht 1 time too many

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 15, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Larry conceded that his assertions that Flip Saunders coaching style was not the cause of Ben Wallace declined performance. So there's no more argument saying that Flip ruined Ben Wallace. However, Larry still believe that Flip Saunders is a bad coach and maybe for him perception is reality. That's all I am saying

Posted by: spades72 | November 15, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

LarryinClinton - good points, but it's more than coaching and scheme. I am not a Hinrich fan, but his quote on "playing hard" was on point. The Wiz don't play hard for 60-minutes.

these guys as a team are not students of the game. When you watch them you can see they don't invest in preparation nor commitment to the game. they rarely seem ready to play. they wake up half way in and hope to come back. I actually saw Gilbert make some good defensive plays on the ball recently. however, Blatche, Yi, and Nick Young are constantly out of position or late to rotate. it's like they are playing street ball and all they think is don't let my man score. McGee has to realize his presence is more than jumping to block shots or catching alley oops too. the guy has no concept of positioning, it's all about leaping like he's still the dominant kid in a high school conference.

Posted by: oknow1 | November 15, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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