Unwatcha-Bull

January 31, 2008

chicagobullslogo.jpg

It’s certainly been a rough year for my favorite NBA squad. Yes, the underachieving, oft-injured Chicago Bulls fell in an ugly way to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, scoring a season-low 67 points and failing to capitalize on the Wolves scoring just eight points in the first quarter.

The one bright spot for Chicago recently, at least from a fantasy perspective, has been Kirk Hinrich. With Luol Deng sidelined due to an Achilles injury, the strain on the Bulls’ offense was evident, but since Ben Gordon went down with a sprained wrist, Hinrich has taken the offense squarely on his shoulders. The fantasy digits in the five games missed by Gordon certainly haven’t been bad:
PG Kirk Hinrich, Bulls (Game Log)

Date Opp Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM FG% FT%
Jan 30 MIN 41:00 14 3 9 0 0 1 29.4 75.0
Jan 29 MIN 43:52 27 3 6 2 0 2 40.0 81.8
Jan 27 PHO 40:24 31 5 3 1 0 0 52.2 87.5
Jan 25 CHA 44:00 14 4 8 2 1 0 37.5 100.0
Jan 23 IND 40:54 38 7 10 2 0 4 66.7 100.0
Average 24.8 4.4 7.2 1.4 0.2 1.4 46.4 87.1

Thanks to scientist CP for the html table, by the way. Hinrich is averaging 42 minutes per game over his last five – eight minutes above his season average. He’s shot no better than 40 percent in three of his last four games, which isn’t helping his already career-worst shooting percentage. What’s worse, it seems that the cavalry is not coming to save him. The Bulls have the second least average NBA experience in the league, and are sixth youngest overall. That youth and inexperience is showing – coach Jim Boylan himself told the cadre of reporters that his team “just shut down” and acted “childish” in the second half. Hinrich is having a tough enough time on his own, he doesn’t need the additional burden of trying to straighten out guys like Tyrus Thomas (OK, Boylan didn’t mention him specifically, but after watching the game I’m going to read between the lines) as well.

Eventually Gordon and Deng will be back – Ben said in the locker room after the game he’ll probably be back on Saturday – and that will be less pressure on Hinrich. But that will also mean fewer minutes (ideally, if he doesn’t want to end up missing time with nagging injuries) and worse fantasy digits. So if you’re looking for a guy to sell high on, Hinrich is probably a good candidate.

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