Atlanta Hawks: Hinrich still trying to find fit in offense

My eyes tell me the Hawks are better defensively with Kirk Hinrich playing point guard instead of Mike Bibby. Your eyes probably believe the same.

The numbers disagree with us.

They say the Hawks have been slightly better on D with Hinrich on the bench than on the court (that includes all games this season). Of course, the numbers also could be used to make a case that Bibby was a solid defender for the Hawks, a proposition that does not come close to passing the eye test.

Aside: This reminds me of a post by Jeff Fogle at Hoopdata back in February, in which he argued there’s too much “noise” in regular-season defensive stats and concluded: “Don’t think about the correlation between regular season rankings (which can get polluted in a variety of ways), and postseason success as the key. Think about the defensive capabilities inherent with the roster of players in competition…when a championship is on the line…and try to assess that team’s ability to impose its will defensively on the outcome.”

My eyes say the Hawks are much more capable of doing so with Kirk at point guard rather than Bibby. Well, maybe they can’t do it at a championship level, but you know what I mean.

“He certainly makes his guy work,” L.D. said. “He’s not going to stop every point guard we play against but you can clearly see the difference he makes in our lineup defensively.”

One subject where the numbers and the eyes are in agreement is Hinrich’s offense. The Hawks have scored nearly seven more points per 100 possessions with Kirk on the bench. That also includes all games, so Hinrich’s rating is dragged down by Atlanta’s overall offensive nosedive from when all those jump shots were falling earlier this season but he’s been a part of that decline, too.

Hinrich has been up-and-down. After consecutive productive and efficient outings against Philadelphia, New Jersey and Cleveland, after which he said he was getting more comfortable with where he can get his shots, he’s scored 15 points on 19 shots in the last three games.

Hinrich still is producing offensively at the same level as Bibby, which actually might be a positive considering he’s been with the Hawks for less than two months. He hasn’t had a lot of time to figure out how his game fits with the Hawks, and he admits that’s been a tough transition.

“A little bit,” Hinrich said. “Most of all I have to get used to how we play. It’s different. Especially for me, I’ve always played on instincts. We play different than any team I’ve been on.”

He joins Joe and Jamal on the list of Hawks players who have had to fit their offensive style into the team’s concept. But Hinrich actually is shooting well–his effective field-goal percentage (54) is second to Al (56) among the regulars–so maybe the real issue is he just needs more shots (along with Al, but we’ve seen how that’s gone).

There’s not much time for Hinrich to figure things out but he said he should have it down by the postseason.

“I think so,” he said. “I’ve gotten more confident in the last week-and-a-half.”

“His offense, I’m not worried about that at all,” Drew said. “I know he’s a capable scorer and can make shots. That will just be a matter of time.”

Note

Josh sat out practice today because of the right knee.

“It’s sore and he’s got a little swelling,” Drew said. “We will see how he will be tomorrow.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

198 comments Add your comment

Rufus1

April 4th, 2011
4:38 pm

Westurd

April 4th, 2011
4:40 pm

anyone see Jordan Crawfords 39 point game followed up with his first triple double?

Just say…..EFF!

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
4:54 pm

Kirk is just tryin’ to be politically correct. what he is sayin’ is this team plays dumb ass ball!!

doc

April 4th, 2011
5:10 pm

myk you may have something there, maybe it is instead of playing on instinct and basketball iq they tend to play offense like it was a democracy, it is my turn now, then it is your turn …. no matter if none of that works it is still a group effort of singular play.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
5:14 pm

MC: how many points per possession are the Hawks scoring with Teague at PG as compared to Jamal, Kirk, or Bibby? Is it possible to filter out garbage time stats when figuring that out?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
5:16 pm

“That also includes all games, so Hinrich’s rating is dragged down by Atlanta’s overall offensive nosedive from when all those jump shots were falling earlier this season”

It’s probably also dragged down by the much more difficult schedule Hinrich has faced as a Hawk compared to Bibby.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
5:20 pm

Previous post came out wrong… meant to say the Hawks’ offensive nosedive correlated with the schedule becoming tougher, and Kirk happened to get here as the strength of schedule increased. The point being, the nosedive probably would have occurred with Bibby as well as Kirk.

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:30 pm

yo doc. it’s sooooo obvious that Kirk expects certain basketball plays to be made at certain times…like Josh rollin’ to the rim as another blogger posted. and IIRC Josh blew him off when Kirk called him on it. Kirk sees the selfishness that exists on this team. again it’s sooooo obvious. i’m just waitin’ on KA BOOM bro!!! this team bores me with its’ LACK OF EYERYTHIN’!!!! well…of course they exhibit dumbness is droves tho!!!!

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:34 pm

and as far as stats are concerned regardin’ Bibby vs Kirk…i can make the correlation between their stats/starts and the weather patterns in the southeastern US!!! know what i’m sayin’!!! Kirk is an upgrade that was acquired by a dumb ass franchise and team and HC…PERIOD!!!!

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
5:37 pm

Hinrich is garbage. He was a horrible trade as I and others stated that from day 1. We gave up 2 1st round picks for a stopgap, 1 who only needed seasoning and would mean more to this team next year because of his potential production and cheap salary. That’s like paying for some fix it flat when your brother works at the tire shop and will come pick up your car and do it for you for free. We were going back and forth on the boards about Sessions, Harris, and Felton then they come out of the blue with this garbage arse stopgap and people start claiming he is such a great leader, heady player, and defensive great. Then he gets here and people keep making excuses for him instead of being honest and calling it what it is, a bad trade. This is another stupid article by MC but I guess you gotta post something to get paid. Hinrich and offense would have no barring if he was the great Defensive stopper that you people proclaimed he would be. Horrible F’ing trade and it shows how bad this whole organization is. You give up younger, cheaper talent for a older more expensive stopgap.

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
5:38 pm

THE HEIMLICH = Bibby w/o his jumpshot..both suck Defensively…………..Blah……Yawn…

lewis

April 4th, 2011
5:40 pm

Hinrich may suck, but i still could care less about Jordan Crawford, in the same way I don’t care about Jamal

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
5:40 pm

AGAIN SUND GAVE AWAY A FUTURE STAR(TRIPLE DOUBLE THREAT EVERY NIGHT) FOR
THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER????????????????????WTF??????????????????????????
SUND HOWS THAT WORKING OUT FOR YA??? 31 YEARS OF CARELESSNESS????
RETIRE ALREADY DUDE…..

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:41 pm

not sayin’ the trade was smart. but callin’ Kirk garbage…far from the truth.

Barton

April 4th, 2011
5:43 pm

I really have been wondering why the Hawks have problems developing talent. We have watched Marvin stay mediocre, Josh improves only what he wants to improve, I can’t really say that Joe has developed with us (or at all), Al motivates himself and should be the lone captain on this team, and we have watched guard after guard we take in the draft fail. I guess I gotta agree with Doc about people worrying too much about getting theirs instead of getting it into the hoop. Drew was the wrong hire. He seems to know how to make the team less predictable, but not how to lead a team. Out of all that.. I guess my point is that this team needs blowing up because there are too many voices that don’t need to be heard and its preventing the sensible voices from making their points and having them followed.

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
5:44 pm

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:30 pm

yo doc. it’s sooooo obvious that Kirk expects certain basketball plays to be made at certain times…like Josh rollin’ to the rim as another blogger posted. and IIRC Josh blew him off when Kirk called him on it. Kirk sees the selfishness that exists on this team. again it’s sooooo obvious. i’m just waitin’ on KA BOOM bro!!! this team bores me with its’ LACK OF EYERYTHIN’!!!! well…of course they exhibit dumbness is droves tho!!!!

The only thing that is obvious and backed up by facts is that Kirk Hinrich has not made this team any better. You can blame Josh and anyone else you like but the truth is if Kirk is some great leader he would have made something noticably better. I bet Nash would have the offense running high octane by now and I bet there are not many truthful beings that would try to argue that. Nash turned Gortac into a pick and roll machine and did it quickly. The fact is Kirk has not made anything noticably better because he is not noticably better than Bibby and he was not a good move, he has quickly gone from a lateral move to a backwards move with Jordan showing his value and with the Hawks record getting worse and that draft pick looking better. No true Hawks supporter can be respected for making excuses for the guy. He is just as bad of a move as Marvin was and that is quickly being proven.

Michael Cunningham

April 4th, 2011
5:44 pm

@superiorblogman: “This is another stupid article by MC but I guess you gotta post something to get paid.”

for sure. . . . so keep reading the stupid articles so i can keep getting paid.

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
5:44 pm

Josh for HC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 LOL

Michael Cunningham

April 4th, 2011
5:45 pm

@Slimjr: “THE HEIMLICH = Bibby w/o his jumpshot”

they are shooting about the same as Hawks.

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
5:48 pm

Thanks MC…….ORLANDO in 6 anyways……..

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
5:49 pm

Prediction, both Sund and Larry are returning for an encore performance next season…….

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:50 pm

PHO…smarter players…smarter coach. and yeah Nash would be an upgrade over Kirk. but Nash would still have to play with these same BB IQ challenged bunch. they are who they are and Nash would NOT fix the players and the effort that needs fixin’!!! KA BOOM is the ONLY fix around here…PERIOD!!!

lewis

April 4th, 2011
5:50 pm

marvin and zaza have been serviceable lately

Paradise Lost

April 4th, 2011
5:50 pm

@mykhalc,

That was my take as well. “I’ve always played on instincts” is code for “I practice, work on shots, know the team offensive sets, build rapport with teammates, and that preparation allows me to play.” “We play different than any team I’ve been on” is code for “There are different standards for accountability for different players, personal agendas supersede team play, the offensive sets in the playbook aren’t always the ones we run on the floor, and the PF thinks he’s a PG.”

I am a casual fan, not a true stats person like many of you on the blog; but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the Hawks run an offensive play where it appears they are passing the ball for the sake of passing it. Does LD threaten to fine players if they don’t pass 4 times each on a play? I see lots of open looks passed on for the sake of ball movement. It’s as if LD forgot to mention the point of all the passing is actually to shoot the ball when you catch an open look. Now, you more seasoned bb experts correct me on that if I’m wrong. It reminds me of the saying I heard way too often several years ago: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Rufus1

April 4th, 2011
5:51 pm

“A little bit,” Hinrich said. “Most of all I have to get used to how we play. It’s different. Especially for me, I’ve always played on instincts. We play different than any team I’ve been on.”

It is called 7 years of bad coaching. That would also explain the Hate some players have for the Hawks when they leave.

The right way, the wrong way and the Hawks way.

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
5:53 pm

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:50 pm

PHO…smarter players…smarter coach. and yeah Nash would be an upgrade over Kirk. but Nash would still have to play with these same BB IQ challenged bunch. they are who they are and Nash would NOT fix the players and the effort that needs fixin’!!! KA BOOM is the ONLY fix around here…PERIOD!!!

Your showing how little of a man you are. Men admit when they are wrong and move on. Hakim Warrick has even turned into a great pick and roll player with Nash, since when has he been thought to be some great smart player? I already know the answer, when you decided to type he was.

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
5:53 pm

and man if you think JC2 would have been afforded the same ‘on-the-court’ freedom that he’s seein’ in WASH. get real…the players NOR the HC would have allowed it!!!

Rod from College Park

April 4th, 2011
5:53 pm

I won’t call him garbage, but he ain’t above average either. All this he is a great leader, high basketball IQ, and a great defender crap is nonsense. He’s a better defender than Bibby, but that ain’t hard to do. That’s it. Bibby’s stats across the board in Atlanta this year are superior to Kirk’s except field goal percentage. That time to get adjusted stuff is understandable, to an extent, but missing wide open jumpers, letting the last 4 point guards we played run circles around you, and totalling 4 assist and 10 points in the last 2 games is horrible. He did make a statement that explains the Hawks at this point though.

“A little bit,” Hinrich said. “Most of all I have to get used to how we play. It’s different. Especially for me, I’ve always played on instincts. We play different than any team I’ve been on.”

So a franchise who never won anything plays different than any other team he’s been on. That tells me everything I need to know.

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
5:54 pm

Michael Cunningham

April 4th, 2011
5:44 pm

@superiorblogman: “This is another stupid article by MC but I guess you gotta post something to get paid.”

for sure. . . . so keep reading the stupid articles so i can keep getting paid.

Can’t knock the hustle my brother.

Darnell

April 4th, 2011
5:55 pm

I’m pretty much done with this season, and I’ve been done with it for quite some time. There’s nothing for us to accomplish this season that we haven’t already accomplished. It’s been a season of regression, and it’s very unfortunate that management decided to waste away another whole year for this franchise, and possibly more by signing an incompetent rookie coach and overpaying an aging role player. it’s very unfortunate, but none of us can do anything to change that, at this point.

I’m just hoping that the Hawks let go of Larry Drew as soon as possible, and if not, I’m hoping that the talented players on this team (Josh Smith and Al Horford) are traded away so that they don’t have to waste anymore time from their careers with this joke of a franchise. I’m fed up with what I’ve seen. I’ve followed this team for a very, very long time, and I was under the impression that maybe the franchise may have finally turned the corner when the team was steadily improving, year by year, but the team has totally collapsed this season. This is the worst the team has been in three seasons, and the blame goes form management down all the way to the players. The franchise is in the worst financial situation it has been in in quite some time, the team has the worst coach it has had in quite some time, and most of the players are playing toward their weaknesses and playing less efficient than ever before. It’s just a huge disappointment, overall.

The only victory that will bring most fans any sense of long-term enjoyment from this team would be some significant change. A coaching change, first and foremost, an ownership change, a personnel change in the roster, etc. That’s what we need, that’s what a lot of fans seemingly want, and that definitely wouldn’t make the team worse, unless we really strive for incompetence. It would seriously be a challenge to find a more incompetent head coach or less apathetic owners. Those would be huge challenges, so at least there is the consolation that the team couldn’t be managed much worse than it is now. That’s the only current victory.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
5:56 pm

“Prediction, both Sund and Larry are returning for an encore performance next season…….”

I agree about LD, since he’s the cheapest coach in the league and the DASG is going to find some excuse to keep him. If they fire him, you can expect Lester Conner to take his place.

But in the case of Sund, his contract expires, and I doubt he’ll take the cheapest salary in the league after being in the league for 30 years. I’m guessing he mercifully retires. Of course, they will probably just promote his assistant too.

SteveW

April 4th, 2011
5:57 pm

Rod – I disagree with you about Kirk and Smoove – but yours was a hilarious post anyways!

And anybody watching the games knows that Hinrich is better than Bibby 8 out of 10 times or so. BB has two sides, offense and defense. And Hinrich is better than Bibby at D. Penetrates a little more on O. Offers a little more resistance on D, man’s his guy usually.

The Hawks are a better team since Hinrich got here. But we still have LD, so we struggle. Maybe the guy will develop into a HC, who knows?

I kinda doubt it however

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
5:57 pm

So a franchise who never won anything plays different than any other team he’s been on. That tells me everything I need to know.

I feel you Rod but what team has Kirk been on that won anything either? I am sure we are talking championships here, as I remember Kirk has never been any further than this Hawks core. So, why does his opinion on the right way to play really hold water?

Will

April 4th, 2011
5:58 pm

terrible trade, watched game last night Hinrich got beat off the dribble several times in the fourth quarter, I’m not impress with Kirk not as of yet, and people needs to stop blaming Smoove for the Hawks illness, the guy play with heart all game

Rufus1

April 4th, 2011
6:00 pm

Barton

It called 6 years of no offensive identity and 1 year of no accountability. You can’t develop a Young PG without an offensive system. You can’t develop a young PG if the ball is always in your SG hands. If Teague had the ball as much as joe, we would be a much better team.

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
6:01 pm

New ownership will fix the Hawks but dont bet on it……..

doc

April 4th, 2011
6:01 pm

paradise:

I am a casual fan, not a true stats person like many of you on the blog; but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the Hawks run an offensive play where it appears they are passing the ball for the sake of passing it.

it is what i see as well, ball movement without the movement of bodies required to make this or any other team like offense work “princeton” or otherwise. unfortunately we see it on the other side of the ball on defense which is to not work and give effort. defensed is harder than shooting the basketball. we tend to play the game as if it is a game of twenty one, stand around and shoot.

of course samuel said tit would be like this and drew would fail. i hoped we didnt have selfish one dimensional lazy players but he got it right. he also said that is true for most professionals. not, but it is true for losing teams calling themselves professionals.

Anthony

April 4th, 2011
6:02 pm

I still say the hawks gave too much up for Kirk. nothing against him but Crawford is killing with Washington. Why did we not even let him get on the court. Not good for management and coaches when he was a number one draft pick. And now we don’t even have one this year. Terrible trade.

ag

April 4th, 2011
6:04 pm

Wow MC, when you get attacked you respond! Now I am sure it is out of your control but why in the article is there is a pic of Teague with the tag about missing the last second three to lose the game. Why did we not have a picture of JJ making two critical turnovers or JH offensive foul?

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
6:05 pm

JC2=TRIPLE DOUBLE THREAT EVERY FREAKING NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF????????????????

Rufus1

April 4th, 2011
6:07 pm

We gave up too much, I disagree….

We thought we were getting a better PG so we gave up Crawford…The 1st rd pick was for Bibby’s contract. Kirk’s contract will have value next year.

mykhalc

April 4th, 2011
6:08 pm

@superiorblogman…Your showing how little of a man you are. Men admit when they are wrong and move on.

your inferiority complex shows in your name alone brah!!! all the Kirk hate ain’t gonna bring JC2 back or make this team play any smarter!!!

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
6:08 pm

JC2 plays Wednesday night in Indiana!! Hes gonna lit it up!!!!! 24 pts, 8 rebounds, 5 assist, 2 steals….

Najeh Davenpoop

April 4th, 2011
6:09 pm

The weird thing about Kirk is there have been times when he has looked fantastic on D, like in the first game against Chicago and Friday’s game against Boston. And then there are other times when he looks nearly as bad as Bibby, like he did yesterday. I don’t think his ability to fit in with the offense has anything to do with him playing consistently on the other end of the floor.

NCBravesFan

April 4th, 2011
6:09 pm

No surprise that Kirk’s having trouble assimilating in the “WTF? Offense.” A lot of other people are as well!

Hopefully they’ll get it together and play hard in the playoffs … and give themselves a chance to get to the second round.

Slimjr

April 4th, 2011
6:10 pm

^^^^^^^^
lite

superiorblogman

April 4th, 2011
6:12 pm

Rufus1

April 4th, 2011
6:07 pm

We gave up too much, I disagree….

We thought we were getting a better PG so we gave up Crawford…The 1st rd pick was for Bibby’s contract. Kirk’s contract will have value next year.

Say what, I am not attacking you but anyone that believes what you just posted is stupid. We thought we were getting a better PG so we gave up Crawford. Okay thats 1 thing you give up in the Bibby and Kirk exchange. Then you say the 1st rd pick was for the Bibby contract, Bibby’s contract would have expired next season just like Kirk’s and Bibby’s contract was less than Kirk’s, Bibby was making about $ 5 a year and Kirk about $9. How does your post make any sense in hindsight?

Anthony

April 4th, 2011
6:17 pm

“it is what i see as well, ball movement without the movement of bodies required to make this or any other team like offense work “princeton” or otherwise. unfortunately we see it on the other side of the ball on defense which is to not work and give effort. defensed is harder than shooting the basketball. we tend to play the game as if it is a game of twenty one, stand around and shoot.

of course samuel said tit would be like this and drew would fail. i hoped we didnt have selfish one dimensional lazy players but he got it right. he also said that is true for most professionals. not, but it is true for losing teams calling themselves professionals.”

I really find it difficult to put this blame onto the players. If anything, the blame goes on the coach. The coach has the most power over the players. The players, essentially, are just doing what they are asked to do. With a few expections (Joe, Josh, occasionally Jamal), everyone on the roster just does what they are instructed to do while they are on the floor. The majority of the plays called are for Joe, so most of the time, the players are looking to pass the ball around, until it arrives in the hands of the player whom the play is called for, and when the other team disrupts the “play set”, someone like Joe, Jamal, or Josh tries to take over, and when the shot clock is running down, it just becomes a “hot-potato” type of thing, or “hero-ball”, which often results in a bad shot from josh, or a contested (and missed) shot by Joe.

It’s understandable to hate what the team is doing out there, but if you want to find the ultimate cause of the problem, I suggest you look to the sideline. If the players on the floor aren’t doing what the coach wants them to do, the coach should sit them down. Also, I don’t buy the BS that Drew just “doesn’t have many options”. When a player like Jamal is, literally, giving you nothing positive on either end of the floor, anyone on the bench is a better option. The same goes for guys everyone who is not contributing when the team is struggling.

The bottom line is that this team just has very poor coaching. Think about it this way, if Woodson, who was criticized by many and considered to be a very below-average coach by some, was able to achieve moderate levels of success with this team, yet Drew has managed to accomplish even less, then what does that make Drew? If Woodson was awful, what is Drew? A disgrace?

James on Pharr Rd

April 4th, 2011
6:22 pm

Prediction on GM and LD:

You got that right,LD will be back. But for Woody’s contract running out, he would still be here too.
Suund will not return because any changes with players and coaching staff (and change is coming) will have to be done by a new GM.

Melville

April 4th, 2011
6:25 pm

“No surprise that Kirk’s having trouble assimilating in the “WTF? Offense.” A lot of other people are as well!”

This pretty much says it all. It’s not a problem with any one player, it’s a problem for everyone on the team, that’s why just about every player, outside of Al is having a down year. Marvin has been invisible, Joe has been nothing more than an inefficient ball hog, Jamal has been nothing more than a volume shooter (who doesn’t get a high volume of shots anymore), and Josh has been thinking he’s a guard, all season long. This system just doesn’t work.

It’s a pity that coach Drew just is too foolish and stubborn to realize that. We need a new coach, ASAP. I really don’t think many people would disagree with the idea that Drew is just not the right person to coach this squad.