The Indiana Pacers surprised a lot of people in the 2013 NBA Draft when they used the 23rd overall pick in the draft, their only first round pick, on Solomon Hill out of Arizona. Hill wasn’t projected to go in the draft until the early-to-mid-second round, so taking him that high seemed like an enormous reach.
It’s not hard to see why Hill wasn’t thought of particularly highly coming into the draft. In his final year at Arizona, Hill averaged just 13.4 points, 2.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game on just 45.8 percent shooting and 39 percent three-point shooting. He also showed a tendency to turn the ball over and some of his mechanics, notably with his shooting motion, were off.
However, through the Pacers’ first three games at the Orlando Summer League, Hill has actually been one of the most consistent performers and the standout for the Pacers squad.
In his first game, Hill put up nine points, four rebounds and two assists on 3-3 shooting. In his second contest, he notched an impressive 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists on 7-11 shooting. In Indiana’s third game on Tuesday, he put up 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals on 7-15 shooting.
Hill has had some relatively impressive stat-lines thus far in Summer League, but what he deserves the most praise for is how well he’s played within himself. Hill has been somewhat aggressive on offense, but he’s not forcing anything. He’s taking what comes to him in the flow of the game and then taking advantage of opportunities.
For a young player with not a ton of expectations, the fact that he’s not trying to force his hand in Summer League is an enormously good sign. If Hill can come in during the regular season and just stay within himself and the flow of the game, he will be a valuable asset for the Pacers off the bench. When it’s all said and done, it might not seem like a reach at all that Indiana grabbed him at 23.