ORLANDO — I think Stan Van Gundy just said Kirk Hinrich is better than Carmelo Anthony.
OK, not quite. But the Orlando Magic coach did declare the Hawks’ trade for Hinrich was the best deal any team made at the NBA trade deadline, including the New York Knicks’ acquisition of Anthony from Denver.
Whether you think Van Gundy is telling the truth or just trying to sweet talk the Magic’s opponent between games of their playoff series, here’s the quote on Hinrich: “He’s always been one of the best defensive guards in the league. Going back to when I was in Miami and he was in Chicago, I’ve always thought he was one of the best guys guarding [Dwyane] Wade. He can guard at both guard positions. He’s got good size. He’s extremely tough. He’s smart and a great competitor. Up until this year he had been a real up-and-down shooter. That was his main flaw. But he’s shot extremely well this year.”
And now, Van Gundy’s big finish: “Long before the playoffs got here, I thought of all the moves made at the trade deadline — and I know everybody got jacked up with the New York thing because of the names involved, and I’m not saying that was a bad move — I thought [the Hawks’ move was the best of all the moves. It was great. It was only one guy. They didn’t make the changes that New York did late in the year. What they did was take a smart tough guy and incorporate him.”
The Hinrich trade has been a matter of debate in Atlanta since it was a made. It was a five-player deal with Washington: Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong for Mike Bibby (who never played there), Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a first-round pick.
There’s little question Hinrich improved the Hawks at point guard and gave them a better starting five. He did a good job defending Jameer Nelson early in the Hawks’ 103-93 win Saturday. (Nelson had 27 points but he was held to one point at halftime and didn’t start scoring until Hinrich went to the bench.)
The difficult part of the trade was the Hawks’ decision to part with rookie Jordan Crawford (who went on play in 26 games, start 18, average 16.3 points, 3.9 assists and had a 39-point game) and the draft pick.
Given Van Gundy’s comment, I thought it would be worth throwing it out there again. What are your thoughts on the Hinrich deal?
By Jeff Schultz
Last few Hawks blogs