Veteran guard expected to mentor top pick Wall

As one of the few veterans on the Wizards roster, Kirk Hinrich will have the task of being a mentor to rookie point guard John Wall -- just like he did with Derrick Rose in Chicago.

If Wall proves to be anything like Rose, who earned his first All-Star nod last year, the task will be pretty easy.

"When Derrick first came to the Bulls, I feel like I got too much credit for that," Hinrich said at his official Wizards introduction Monday. "He was just very good, and with my versatility, I was able to play along side him and complement him pretty well, I feel. The main thing is, Derrick learned stuff from me. I was talking to him and everything like that, but most of it was by example."

Getting reacquaintedKirk Hinrich will share the backcourt with Gilbert Arenas and back him up next season, but one of the Wizards’ best moments of the last decade came when Hinrich was guarding Arenas. In Game 5 of the 2005 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Arenas nailed a game-winning 16-footer over Hinrich. “I was just trying to stay in front of him, hoping he’d miss the jump shot, keep him out of the lane, and he hit a very tough one,” Hinrich said. “That’s just the type of player [Arenas] is. That was good times — we didn’t win, but the competitiveness of that series was great.”

The harder part for Hinrich is adjusting to a rebuilding situation after making the playoffs with Chicago in five of the last six seasons. The Bulls unsuccessfully made a play for LeBron James this summer but still added pieces -- Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver -- which they hope will help propel them off the fringes of the playoffs and into legitimate contention in the Eastern Conference.

Hinrich, who averaged 13.4 points and 5.8 assists over seven seasons in the Windy City, now finds himself in the company of a longtime fan -- Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld. In the 2003 NBA Draft, when Grunfeld was general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, he wanted to select the 6-foot-3 Kansas guard with the eighth overall pick. Hinrich was chosen seventh.

"It's safe to say that if he wouldn't have gone before us, he would've gone to us," Grunfeld said.

Perhaps that's why Hinrich, 30, said the trade to Washington makes him feel like he's 22 again and just entering the league.

"It hit me a little bit on the blind side with the trade, but it's great to be wanted," Hinrich said. "I'm excited. I feel like we got a good group of young guys and can make some things happen if we put our minds to it."