Fans finally got their tacos in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 103-94 win over the Orlando Magic. Jordan Hill was key to the victory as he recorded a career-high 28 points in addition to his 13 rebounds, a standout performance for a man who was out of the lineup completely a couple of week ago.
Furthermore, this season has been a roller coaster for big man. Hill was playing at an All-Star level to start the year, but inconsistent playing time and injuries buried him in the lineup for the majority of the second half of the season. On multiple occasions, Hill even eclipsed his career-highs in both points and rebounds in two games in which he recorded 21-11 and 24-17.
So, how does a player who has put up these kind of numbers end up averaging just over 19 minutes a game? Mike D’Antoni would be the answer to that question.
A head coach is supposed to construct the most productive lineup as possible. Benching a player of Hill’s caliber is not only foolish, but insulting. There’s no question the two had a rift in the past as members of the New York Knicks, so who knows, the disagreements may have carried over onto the Lakers. Whatever the case may be, Hill deserves the increased playing time he has received over the past two games.
This situation becomes even more depressing as Hill hits the open market this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Constant uncertainty may put the Lakers at risk of retaining Hill’s beyond this year. Losing him would be a massive hit as Los Angeles is in desperate need of productive players who can be an aid in the rebuilding project currently underway.
Not only has he been one of the most productive Lakers all season, but he is also a fan favorite who brings excitement to a rather dismal season.
If D’Antoni is still on the sidelines for the 2014-15 season, I can confidently say that there is a zero percent chance that Hill will still on the roster. Therefore, the Lakers must terminate D’Antoni’s contract immediately at the conclusion of the season not only in an attempt to convincing Hill to re-sign, but to also attract other free agents. Either way, he is a vital piece to the Lakers’ future success.