Ever since Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in his right knee in late November, the Chicago Bulls had relied on both Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin to carry the team at the point guard position.
Hinrich, known for his defense and great ability to run an offense, has been viewed as a calming veteran presence for the Bulls throughout the season. Augustin, on the other hand, was the missing piece to the Bulls puzzle after Rose went down. With his ability to hit the three as well as his stellar play in the pick-and-roll, Augustin’s offense off the bench gave the Bulls new life during the second half of the year.
But with Rose on pace to return for the 2014-15 season, there will only be room for one backup point guard. The Bulls must make a difficult decision moving forward: Hinrich or Augustin.
Hinrich spent nine of his 11 seasons with the Bulls and was drafted by the team in 2003. So, saying there is sentimental value there would be putting it lightly. After being traded by the Bulls in 2010 in hopes to clear cap for LeBron James, Hinrich spent time with the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks before returning to Chicago in 2012. Hinrich signed a two-year deal worth $3 million per season, which was about $2 million less than what the Milwaukee Bucks were offering him at the time.
Unlike Hinrich, Augustin never really had place to call home before the Bulls signed him in mid-December. After being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2008, Augustin bounced around the NBA and found it difficult to find playing time. That all changed when the Toronto Raptors released him and he fell on the lap of the Bulls. Since then, Augustin has been one of the league’s best feel-good stories of the year, and also became the Bulls’ leading scorer at nearly 16 points per game.
Given the fact that Hinrich will be 34 years old by the end of the 2014-15 season, the Bulls need to set their sights on keeping the quicker and younger Augustin, who is still only 26 and can thrive playing behind Rose next season. Both players thrive in the pick-and-roll, and could pose a problem for defenses if they’re ever on the court together.
The Bulls still have less than two months to decide whether they want to re-sign Hinrich or Augustin. But if they want to give Rose some help on offense, the Bulls will choose Augustin over the veteran Hinrich.