I will admit that when the trade was announced I was less than thrilled with the move to acquire Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong from the Washington Wizards for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, and this year's first round pick. However, I think I liked Hinrich more and more each time I watched him play. Whether Atlanta overpaid to get him remains to be seen. I am reserving judgment on Jordan Crawford's offensive explosion at the end of the season for Washington until he plays some actual meaningful games. Although he clearly showed that he is a talented scorer and would have likely been a nice replacement for Jamal Crawford.
Hinrich was clearly an upgrade defensively over Mike Bibby and seemed to gel with the rest of the team more and more as time went on. His perimeter defense on Jameer Nelson was a big factor in Atlanta upsetting Orlando in the first round of the playoffs. In a peculiar way, he was also a factor in the Chicago series as it was his hamstring injury against Orlando that cleared the way for Jeff Teague's emergence.
Hinrich started 22 of 24 games with Atlanta and appeared in six more playoff games. He averaged 8.6 points and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor. He hit on 42 percent of his three point shots.
Hinrich is owed $8.1 million next season in what is the last year of his current deal. His presence and versatility provides Atlanta with several options. With the emergence of Jeff Teague, Hinrich could either start in the backcourt along side Teague with Joe Johnson shifting to small forward or Hinrich could assume the sixth man role off the bench with Jamal Crawford's likely exit.
Whether the combination starts or not, it is likely that you will see Teague and Hinrich on the floor together some next season which is a clear upgrade defensively in my opinion. Also with Hinrich's deal expiring, he would seemingly be a valuable chip on the trade market if Atlanta chose to go that route.
One of the things I liked most about Hinrich was that he was visibly upset with Atlanta's lack of ball movement. There was several times during the season where he clearly threw up his hands as the ball stuck on one side of the floor. With a full training camp he should be able to further integrate himself into the team this season.
Hinrich is a pro's pro. A throwback so to speak. I would like to see more of his teammates adopt that blue collar attitude on a more consistent basis.