The Washington Wizards We Forgot are back! This time, we remember Kirk Hinrich.
Wizards We Forgot is back! A series that we started earlier this summer here at Wiz of Awes, Wizards We Forgot is a short trip down memory lane where we remember some of the short-lived Wizards careers of some fun names that never worked out in D.C.
Remembering Kirk Hinrich’s (very) short Washington Wizards career.
The Lead Up
Although Kirk Hinrich spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Chicago Bulls, the Washington Wizards were very familiar with the point guard. Mostly because he was a constant thorn in their side.
He was in the middle of a fight between the Bulls and Wizards in 2004. He dropped 23 points and seven rebounds on them in the 2005 playoffs. Consistently throughout his career, Hinrich’s numbers against the Wizards were usually better than his averages.
So in the summer of 2010 when the Washington Wizards traded 2006 second-round pick Vladimir Veremeenko for Kirk Hinrich and the draft right to Kevin Seraphin, it looked like a steal for the rebuilding Wizards.
A Mentor for the Future
For a team starting to rebuild, getting a prospect like Seraphin for nearly nothing was big, but grabbing Hinrich might have been bigger. He was a reliable point guard, something invaluable behind the rookie phenom John Wall. And Hinrich could mentor Wall, much like he had done each of the previous two seasons with Derrick Rose in Chicago.
Off the court, Hinrich was brought in as one of the few professional veterans on a roster full of kids, featuring both Nick Young and JaVale McGee.
But Hinrich’s time in D.C. didn’t last long. And it wasn’t because he was playing poorly. Through half the season, Hinrich was averaging 11.1 points and 4.4 assists, not much different than what he was doing previously in Chicago.
Hinrich was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Earlier that season, the Wizards had fully committed to a rebuild, trading Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic and officially ending the Agent Zero era. This was Wall’s team moving forward.
That meant that the Wizards needed to acquire assets, assets they could eventually turn into talent around John Wall. Hinrich was the most attractive trade piece on the roster and was due another $8 million next season. That’s a lot to pay for a mentor.
By February, Hinrich (and Hilton Armstrong) was off to Atlanta in exchange for Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford, and a 2011 first-round pick.
Although Hinrich only got 48 games to make his mark in D.C., he ultimately did what he was supposed to do.
He provided solid minutes, leading coach Flip Saunders to describe his departure as “disappointing.” He provided mentorship for Wall, who described Hinrich as “somebody that really helped me and pushed me to get through” his rookie season. And he helped the Wizards acquire more assets for a rebuild, plus a cheaper mentor in Mike Bibby. Unfortunately, we all know how that turned out.
And maybe best of all, Hinrich – while in a Wizards uniform – made J.J. Reddick touch earth.
Since leaving D.C., Hinrich has had a few run-ins with the Wizards. Most notably, he and Bradley Beal got matching double-technicals during the 2014 playoffs.
John Wall also crossed Hinrich up during the next game of that series. The mentee embarrassed the mentor.
It’s Hinrich, though, who gets the last laugh against Washington. For his career, Hinrich’s splits against Washington are among his best vs any team.
Although he always made it work when he was playing against the Wizards, it’s a shame he didn’t have the same prolonged success when he was playing for them.
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