Season Review Part I: Kirk Hinrich

With the season over it has been a time for reflection.  I want to look back at the key players on the team.  I am using two measures of over all player performance.  PER is used often around here so I want to use that data set because most of us are familiar with it.  But, I also want to use Dean Oliver's system of Player Wins and Player Losses to look back at this season.  I used Oliver's tools to predict win totals for the Bulls and a few other teams and it proved fairly accurate.  I now have a much better grasp of how his system works.  I like Oliver's system because it's directly related to wins and losses, and takes defense into far greater account.

I'll start with Kirk Hinrich.  His 17.0 PER,  ranked him 10th among PGs playing 30 or more min/g.  Hinrich faired better by Oliver's system with .808 PW% and 9.6 PW.  Only Nash, Terry, and Kidd won more games, and only Nash and Terry had a better PW% among PGs.  Hinrich raised his PW% from the .600 to an elite level.  He's at worst a top ten pg.  Hinrich's gains in PER and PW% were almost entirely due to improved shooting.  He produced career highs in every shooting category.  He drastically improved his inside effectiveness from 52.8% to 58.0%.  Hollinger in his 05/06 season review of Hinrich focused on his failure to improve, particularly his continued low shooting %.  Kirk's 06/07 season directly addressed those criticisms.  Also in Kirk's favor is that he meets 2 of the 3 criteria Hollinger established for point guards that age well.  He's tall for a PG at 6'3'' and he shoots well.  Hinrich's play is unlikely to decline.

Will Kirk ever be the top pg in the league?  No.  But, he should consistently rank among the top 3 to 7 in the game.  It is also important to remember that Hinrich is statistically a much better PG than SG.  Or that difference could simply be the Duhon effect.  Either way, Hinrich needs to spend more time at point.  But, he also is unlikely to make a similar jump in shooting %.  The jump from 40% to 44% is much easier than the jump from 44% to 48%.  Further improvement will likely have to come from reductions in turnovers.  Hinrich already is among the best point guards in the game and still has a decent chance to get a little better.  But then again he probably can't start for a championship team. :-p (There you go Matt)

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