It was a move that many figured would have happened at the beginning of the year and not a quarter of the way through the season, but the Indiana Pacers have officially demoted Solomon Hill to the D-League Mad Ants.
Hill was drafted by the Pacers in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft. While many didn’t understand the pick and some still don’t, it became clear that Hill was drafted as a potential replacement for Danny Granger after this year. That became clear when Granger went down in preseason and Hill was thrust into the second unit.
With Granger out, Hill had to pick up the slack that he likely wasn’t prepared for. Coming in with the mindset of being a rarely used player to all of a sudden being thrown into major playing time didn’t help Hill. The preparation that goes into the offseason is completely different, something Paul George mentioned last year when he said he trained to be a No. 2 instead of a No. 1 guy on a team.
Hill played in 16 games this season, averaged 1.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists. Nothing great, but he simply wasn’t ready. He has shot 8-for-24 this season, including 4-for-17 from 3-point range. Hill was the player that everyone wanted to see succeed during a game, and he also didn’t want him jacking up threes at all a la Lance Stephenson of last year.
Being sent to the D-League is a good thing for Hill. It will allow him to continue to play and keep up on his conditioning while continuing to practice and travel with the team at times. If the Pacers have learned one thing, it’s that using the D-League as a minor league system can do wonders for players like Miles Plumlee.
The Granger scenario can play out in many ways at the end of this season, but if he doesn’t return next year, the Pacers will at least have a young guy who will be ready to step in and help out in any way possible.