It’s no secret the Bulls are struggling.
With injuries piling on quicker than those injured can get back on the floor, it has made the effort needed to win that much higher in compensating for being so shorthanded on a nightly basis.
While the team keeps reminding themselves it’s still early in the season, you can start to read the mental frustration on the player’s faces like an open book.
One of those players being Kirk Hinrich, who aside from being upset at the frustrating fashion the Bulls (8-11) are losing in, is also upset in his individual performance.
“Me, personally, I haven’t given us anything the last two games offensively,” Hinrich said after Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukee. “So if I do that, we would probably have a chance to win both of (the) games. I’m just going to try and play better myself, get my mind right and do better.”
Saying that he’s given the team “nothing” the past two games is a bit extreme, but it’s hard to disagree with the 10-year guard.
Hinrich has gone 1-for-20 the past two games, not registering a field goal in Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukee. He’s also 1-for-11 from 3-point range in that span. In the four games played in the month of December, he’s shooting 21 percent from the field and just 17 percent from outside. His season averages in those categories are just considerably better and that’s not saying much as they're career lows (33 percent shooting, 27 percent from three).
In that time he’s averaging seven assists and just under five rebounds. So he’s still running the show and crashing the boards in his nearly 40 minutes of playing time during that stretch.
Aside from the overall team dynamic, Hinrich is the player most affected by the loss of Derrick Rose for the season.
Rose’s absence has thrust Hinrich back into a starting role for the second season in a row and unlike last season, there’s no Marco Belinelli or Nate Robinson to share ball handling or playmaking duties with. Only Marquis Teague and Mike James.
With Jimmy Butler missing his 10th straight game on Tuesday, Luol Deng missing his second with a sore left Achilles and Joakim Noah missing his first with a right thigh bruise, there’s even more of a load on Hinrich to not only facilitate and defend at his usual high level at arguably the toughest position on a night to night basis, but also score -- something he looked way more comfortable doing with sharing the backcourt with Rose.
“It’s unfortunate, but something we have to deal with,” Hinrich said of the injuries to four starters. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.
“We’re shorthanded, but it’s no excuse. We’re all pros. We got to go out there and do what we can do.”