Hill must break the barrier


Hill's improvement from his rookie year was a pleasant surprise for the Spurs.

The San Antonio Spurs were thrilled by George Hill’s progress from his rookie season to his sophomore year in San Antonio.

Given more playing time and defined role, Hill flourished in his second year.

His numbers greatly improved from 5.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 40.3 percent field goal shooting in 16.5 minutes per game to 12.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 47.8 percent shooting from the field while playing 29.2 minutes per ball game.

Hill’s production increased as his minutes went up. But what was even more impressive was his ability to run the Spurs’ offense during Tony Parker’s absence.

Instead of giving in to pressure, he proved to be up to the challenge.

Because of Parker’s injury, Hill was forced into the starting lineup.

He started 43 games in 2009-10 season averaging 15.3 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 48.6 percent shooting from the field.

That same year, Hill was instrumental in helping the Spurs to dispatch the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the first-round playoffs.

And in 10 post season games, he managed to put up 13.4 points and 3.1 assists on 45.1 percent field goal shooting while starting in eight games.

This just shows how effective and impressive he was in his sophomore year. Young players tend to get better as they gain more experience and confidence in their game.

Nonetheless, in his third with San Antonio, Hill appeared to have regressed. In 76 regular season games including five starts, he averaged 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assist while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor in 28.3 minutes per game.

Compared to his second season, Hill’s numbers went down but it weren’t far off. In fact, he developed a significant aspect of his game, improving his free throw shooting accuracy to 86.3 percent from 77.2 percent a year ago.

He was also more aggressive in attacking the basket as he took 270 foul shots in 76 games. Last year, he attempted 237 free throws in 78 games.

On top of that, Hill has developed into a solid perimeter defender for the Spurs.

So why did his numbers went down?

Maybe it’s about his confidence level, his comfort zone, or simply getting the right break. Or maybe it’s a combination of all.

With the right situation and opportunity, Hill can reach his full potential.

In his three years with the Spurs, Hill has adjusted well to varying roles. However, this time, things were a bit more different.

In his first two seasons, Hill has the luxury of spending most of his floor time with Manu Ginobili. With Manu by his side, he was able to utilize his skills and ability to the fullest and just play his game.

Simply put it. Hill is at best when his is playing with another point guard or a play-maker.

He is a natural shooting guard with a scorer’s ability and instincts. When paired with Gary Neal, he tried to find balance between scoring and passing and that makes him a little tentative at times.

But when he is in his comfort zone, Hill has proven time and again that he can step up to the challenge.

He led the Spurs to victory scoring 22 points off the bench against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 12 and had another 22-point performance on March 2 in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers with Parker sidelined with a calf injury.

He also posted back-to-back impressive offensive performances in late March. Tying a career-high 30 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 27 and then followed it up with 27-point effort against the Blazers the following night.

What should the Spurs expect?

Hill has a great scoring ability, attacks the lane well and is great at drawing contact. If he can use his skills to the fullest, he is definitely a dangerous player on both ends of the floor.

In the right situation, Hill is player that seems to be on the verge of being an All-Star. Otherwise, his ceiling is just solid role player.

To reach that level, Hill should develop his all-around game and must realize his limitations at the two spot. That means, he should try to expand his game to the point that he doesn’t necessarily need another ball handler by his side to be effective and more efficient on offense.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree that George Hill has the potential to be an All-Star? What are the aspects of his game does he need to improve? Tell us what you think.

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11 thoughts on “Hill must break the barrier

    • I agree with what said about Hill, I think he can still improve with more playing time and another with the Spurs system.

      In the past he has shown flashes that he can take over a game, the problem is, it is too far in between.

      About the Lakers hiring of Brown, I must say I was surprised too. Shaw has been their assistant coach for years and did not get the break.

      I’m not sure why they did that, Mike Brown is a good coach. But I think he will have a hard time controlling the egos of the Lakers on and off the court.

      Thanks for the comment and read. And for your continued support, I appreciate it.

      • For me the biggest detraction for the Spurs was the ” dead weight” on the team . The likes of Jefferson and McDyess simply offered the Spurs nothing that they could hang their hat on !

        As for Brown being the new incumbent with the Lakers well I think that comes down to the fact that Kupchak Buss and his son Jim Buss wanted start afresh , completely anew. It’s as they say ……” out with the old in with the new ” .

        tophatal ……….

  1. I believe that George Hill has reached his full potential. I hope to be proven wrong, but I can’t see him making anywhere close to the same leap he made form Year One to Year Two ever again.

  2. I believe that George Hill has reached his full potential.

    I hope to be proven wrong, but I don’t see him ever making the same leap as he did from Year One to Year Two again.

    • I can still see improvement in Hill. If he can learn how to balance scoring and passing like Tony Parker did, then I think he will greatly improve as a player.

      However, I don’t see his numbers going up that high. Next year if he can average like 16 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. That will be great for San Antonio.

      Thanks for the comment and read.

  3. Hill is already a solid role player for the Spurs if he can improve his passing and outside shooting I think he can be an All Star.

    I Love this article Robby!

  4. George Hill is a good player but his main problem is his undersized for a shooting guard. If he wants to take his game to the next level then he MUST learn how to be a REAL point guard for the Spurs.

  5. Well – the Lakers WILL PLAY DEFENSE with Mike Brown.

    I think Hill has been spending so much time on developing defense that his offense has suffered. Also, he never seems to know who he will be playing with from season to season. This last year Neal took over some of the role that Hill has had previously.

    I was reading one of the “Mock Drafts” and they had the Spurs selecting Norris Cole (a true point guard – tested athletically at near the top in the Combine) and the Spurs trading Parker. Package Parker, Blair and RJ to the Wolves for the second pick, Kevin Love and Martell Webster. Draft Derrick Williams with the Pick.

    • Nice observation on Hill, I think that was one of the main reasons why his development is somewhat hampered this year. (“he never seems to know who he will be playing with from season to season”).

      The Spurs will likely go for a big man in the first round of the upcoming draft.

      And I agree that Mike Brown will stamp his defensive identity with the Lakers.

      Thanks for the comment and read.

  6. George Hill is a good player, but he will not be an All Star in the NBA. He is a solid role player at the best but if he can improve his passing ability he will be more dangerous on offense.

    He is already a good perimeter defender, he only needs to improve his offense.

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