Jordan Hill started the season playing behind the likes of Chris Kaman and Shawne Williams but has recently made the starting lineup, and for good reason. Hill is clearly the most athletic forward in the Los Angeles Lakers frontcourt and is putting up impressive stat lines to go along with an explosive energy the Lakers have clearly been lacking. The last three games, Hill has played 26, 30 and 30 minutes to go along with two massive double doubles and a still decent line against a tough Memphis Grizzlies defense. Hill is also an excellent shot blocker, which is improving the Lakers inside game. Coach Mike D’Antoni is likely to continue to alter his starting lineup as the season progresses but as long as Hill continues to play with energy and at a high level he should remain in the Lakers starting five.
Hill is only in his fourth year in the NBA out of the University of Arizona, in which he was drafted eighth overall, and has plenty of potential left to be an extremely valuable power forward to any team in the NBA. He has seen the beginning of his NBA career stalled by minor legal issues and injury but with his new role on the Lakers, he will quickly become a double-double machine, something he averaged his final year at Arizona. Kaman is also better suited playing second fiddle to Gasol and spelling the aging Spaniard’s minutes this season in an attempt to keep Gasol rested for the latter half of the season. Kobe Bryant‘s return to practice will also help energize this Lakers team that has only started the season at 4-7 but has chalked up two impressive wins against Western Conference Rivals’ in the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.
The days of Jordan Hill coming off the pine look to be over.
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