It’s been a rough start to the season for George Hill. Despite the Indiana Pacers starting 24-5, they have still been subjected to many trade rumors including ones involving Hill. But to the chagrin of many, the Pacers would be foolish to trade the “hometown hero” at this point so it looks like he’s here for the long haul.
Trying to find a significant flaw with the Pacers has been tough to do this season, especially after the last four games. They own the No. 1 defense, are a Top 10 rebounding team and are slowly creeping up the points per game ranking where they currently sit 20th at 98.9 points. In comparison, they finished last year as the second best defense and 23rd best offense but would have been tied for 12th in offense with what they are scoring this year.
So why are there even trade rumors? Because there is nothing else to talk about.
Hill has become a popular guy to throw into the Trade Machine and see what you can get for him. He has become an easy guy to pick on because he isn’t flashy, doesn’t put up consistently good numbers and doesn’t fit what the couch GMs think the Pacers need.
Hill had the best season of his career last year when he started all 76 games that he played in. He averaged 14.2 points, 4.7 assists and 1.1 steals while playing a career-high 34.5 minutes. Where Hill gets in trouble is with his assist totals, which have been consistently low throughout his career. But that’s because Hill is a score-first point guard and plays for an unselfish team that distributes the ball evenly throughout the game.
This season Hill has gotten off to a slow start, averaging 11.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals a game through 26 games. He’s also playing nearly three minutes less per game, which is a good thing, and has to contend with Paul George and Lance Stephenson for assists.
If you want to blame anyone for Hill’s low assist total, just blame Stephenson, whom you can also blame for Roy Hibbert’s low rebounding total this season (8.5 rebounds per game). Stephenson has become a triple-double threat every night which means the ball is in his hands more often than not. But that’s also the beauty of this Pacers squad; whether it’s Hill, Stephenson or George getting the assist, it doesn’t matter because all they are concerned with is winning a championship.
While many would like to see Hill and Danny Granger traded for a “true” point guard like Rajon Rondo, it just isn’t going to happen. The Pacers’ salary cap is a nightmare, especially for a team trying to avoid the luxury tax like the plague, and almost any trade would result in them taking back bad contracts which would limit them in the offseason. This squad has also bonded over the past two years which gives them better chemistry than most teams in the NBA, and chemistry is something that makes or breaks teams. Trading Hill at this point would break their chemistry and possibly their chance at a championship.
It’s tough to find something to complain about with this Indiana team, so if needing to nitpick one player’s flaws is the best anyone has then every Pacers’ fan should be grateful.