Kirk Hinrich sounds more excited than he did all of last season

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When Kirk Hinrich signed with the Bulls, he was seen as someone who could start point at point guard until Derrick Rose’s return then switch to combo guard or even shooting guard to complement Rose.

Hinrich completed the first part of that role last season, starting all 60 of his games at point guard as Rose missed the entire year.

Now that Rose is slated to be back, Hinrich must compete with Jimmy Butler for minutes after Butler’s emergence last season.

Not that Hinrich sounds bothered with his situation. Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago:

“It’s almost here,” he said by way of greeting. “You ready for it?”

Kirk Hinrich never sounded quite that upbeat last season and with the various ailments he endured, it was understandable. In his second tour of duty with the Bulls, the veteran guard missed 22 regular-season games and the entire second round of the playoffs as he suffered of litany of injuries, from hurting his groin in the preseason to the ruptured calf muscle that caused him to miss the Miami series.

But with the entire summer to recover from aches and pains that included injuries of the freakish variety, Hinrich, set to enter his 11th professional campaign, is amped up about the upcoming season.

“I feel really good. I think I’ve used the offseason to manage the time fairly well. I have a lot of energy, my body’s feeling good. I’ve been feeling good on the court, so at this point, you’re always looking forward to next year,” he told CSNChicago.com in a phone interview. “You start getting real anxious when you get to two, three weeks left to go before training camp.”

The Bulls have one of the strongest identities in the NBA. For better or worse, they play extremely hard throughout the regular season, even if that means they’re worn down in the playoffs. That’s why Hinrich wasn’t on the court as they lost to the Heat last season.

Hinrich is headed for a reduced role next season, but as long as he keeps such a positive attitude and plays to back it up, he’ll find minutes on a Tom Thibodeau team.