You couldn’t help but notice Jordan Hill sitting at the end of the bench for the entire game on Tuesday night, a game in which the Los Angeles Lakers lost 124-112 to the Portland Trail Blazers. On a night where 10 Lakers got action, Hill, along with Wesley Johnson and MarShon Brooks, were the only DNPs.
Brooks and Johnson you can understand, but Hill just recently came off a game against the Milwaukee Bucks where he scored 28 points and pulled down 16 rebounds!
Mike D’Antoni doesn’t have the nerve to bench Pau Gasol because he knows it will be a huge story in the media, so he opts for the safe move and sacrifices Hill. The whole point of basketball is to win the game, and it’s pretty evident watching this whole season that the fifth-year man out of Arizona provides that. He brings rebounds, toughness, defense, as well as points in the paint. Yet, he doesn’t shoot 3-pointers so he is no good to D’Antoni.
In fairness, Hill needs to be more consistent as he has problems maintaining a high level of play over the course of the season. Yet, that doesn’t rationalize putting him in the doghouse and keeping him entirely out of the rotation. Ultimately, it’s the end of the season and D’Antoni is trying to give everybody minutes, I get that. It’s just a bad look having a talented player just sitting on the bench the whole game. So D’Antoni is saying he is not one of his top 10 guys?
Hill by all accounts is a great teammate, hard worker, and all-around good guy. There just isn’t a good enough reason for D’Antoni to continue to do this; the man is being manipulated by his own system. Hill will certainly help out someone in a big way going forward, whether it’s with the Lakers or another team.