The Los Angeles Lakers were an absolute circus of unmet expectations, media hype, and injuries over the course of the 2012-2013 NBA season. They eventually made the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference, but were promptly swept in the first round; that was a far different result than winning a title like many fans and talking heads had predicted at the start of the season.
The problems were abundant in Los Angeles this past season. They had little-to-no depth on their bench, which hurt them to begin with. That proved to be an even bigger issue with a slowed down Dwight Howard, with Pau Gasol and Steve Nash out for periods of time, and in the playoffs when Kobe Bryant went down with an injury.
Going into the season, one of their most reliable bench guys was forward/center Jordan Hill. However, Hill went down after just 29 games with a hip injury. He returned for three games in the playoffs, but was obviously still bothered by the injury and barely resembled himself and his normal level of play.
In the 29 games that he was healthy, though, he was quite effective coming off the bench and into the frontcourt. He averaged 15.8 minutes per game, but was effective in that role by putting up 6.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game on 49.7 percent shooting. He was a competent backup big man that could play at the four or five position.
Hill has said that he expects to be back at full health for next season, which will be an enormous help for the Lakers. Assuming they re-sign Howard, the Lakers need Hill to come in and back up Dwight and Gasol so that they aren’t playing an insane amount of minutes, especially considering the financial restraints the Lakers will be operating under this summer. Though he may not play a huge number of minutes, a healthy Hill is vital to the Lakers improving next year.