Bouncing around from team to team in the NBA can be pretty discouraging. After short stints on the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, Jordan Hill was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on the day of the trade deadline during the 2011-12 season.
It took a little while, but it seemed that Hill finally found his value in the NBA. It was towards the end of that same season he was traded to the Lakers and during those playoffs that he was able to use his high energy to his advantage.
Hill’s skills have been quite lacking and his defensive ability was not as good as hoped. One thing you cannot fault him for though is his hard work. Where other players were more talented, Hill worked harder to be productive. Enough so that the Lakers decided to resign the big man for two more years.
Unfortunately last year, to add to an already disappointing Laker season, Hill went down after playing in just 29 games with a left hip injury. This sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
This upcoming season with the departure of Dwight Howard, Hill will have to play a pretty prominent role. Only Pau Gasol and newly acquired Chris Kaman will play more minutes.
What exactly can the 26-year-old Hill provide an aging team on the downslide?
His youth and athleticism, assuming he is fully recovered from his hip injury, can provide an old team with some energy. Because of this he has paired well with Gasol and should do the same with Kaman. While the scoring load will be on them, Hill can do the dirty work of rebounding and setting screens.
Coach Mike D’Antoni has thrown the idea out that Hill is working on his jump shot and will be taking more of them this upcoming season. He shot a poor 35% from outside the restricted area in a small amount of games last year. It would take a lot of work to make that a featured aspect of his game.
It’s a nice thought to attempt to make Hill more of a stretch big, but taking him away from the rim may be an issue. Most of his points came from put-backs and dump-offs from the guards. He should be left near the rim where he can be most effective.
Being drafted eighth overall in the 2009 draft, there were some high expectations. Even though things didn’t really pan out, Hill has proven to be a viable role player and can easily be a third or fourth big on a good team.