January 20, 2018, 6:43 pm
The Kings believed they had hit the jackpot by signing George Hill to a three-year, $57 million deal during the offseason. However it hasn’t panned out as they’d envisioned, but does that really come as a surprise?
The success that Hill has experienced for much of his career has been absent during his brief stint in Sacramento. He just hasn’t looked like the player he was in recent seasons; an effective scorer and ball handler who’s a great team defender that truly has an impact on the game.
Hill has been a winner for the majority of his NBA career. He experienced success with the Spurs, he spent time in the playoffs with the Pacers and helped the Jazz return to their winning ways. In Sacramento, the fit is awkward to say the least but the fact that the playing styles of those three teams are so different to that of the Kings is a big reason why Hill has been underwhelming.
One major difference between Hill’s previous three NBA stops and now? Structure. The Spurs, Pacers and Jazz rely so heavily on structure and it is a big reason why they have had such sustained success.
Hill is a systematical player who needs to play in a structured system to succeed. The Kings, unfortunately, are still trying to find an identity and that uncertainty just doesn’t float well with a guy like Hill.
Hill is posting the worst offensive (100.4) and defensive ratings (112.7) of his career for a net rating of -12.3; the next lowest mark being 2.2 in his rookie season with the Spurs. Now those numbers aren’t the end all be all, and it doesn’t help that he’s playing on a team ranked dead last in both categories, but Hill’s impact on the team has been minimal and you would at least expect some sort of success to carry over.
Hill’s only been on a losing team once in his career (2014-15 Pacers) prior to his time with the Kings so he’s not accustomed to an environment like this. Even during that lone losing season, Hill still posted some great numbers with an offensive rating of 107.0 and a defensive rating of 99.8, resulting in a net rating of 7.1 which is the fourth best mark of his career.
He just isn’t making a difference on this team and that’s visible on the court as well as through stats.
Could pace be another factor? Another noticeable trend with the Spurs, Pacers and Jazz is that as well as placing emphasis on structure, they also play at a slower pace than most teams. Hill’s posting the second highest pace percentage of his career at 95.38 which isn’t incredibly high at all. The Kings as a team are 26th in pace (95.0) on the season which is slower than usual for the team, however, that’s still higher than what Hill has experienced in the past.
Hill’s usage rate is actually coming in at one of the lower marks of his career, which is surprising considering he’s on a bad team. With a career usage rate of 18.4, he’s normally a decent part of the offense but this season he’s coming in below average at 17.2, the third lowest mark in his nine seasons. The highest mark of his career came during his lone losing season in Indiana, posting a 24.3 usage rate. This, in turn, solidifies the fact that Hill probably isn’t being utilized in an optimal way which is proving detrimental to his overall performance.
When it comes to passing, things don’t get a whole lot better for Hill who’s posting the second worst mark of his career in Sacramento (15.2 percent). His highest came, unsurprisingly, in that lone losing season again with an assist percentage of 30.4. Players tend to experience an increase in productivity across the board when playing on a poor team, and this rung true for Hill during that 2014-15 season with the Pacers, but on the Kings? The systematical effects are really starting to show.
The trend with a lot of those stats aren’t great for Hill’s projections on the Kings. Could those projections have been made prior to Hill even suiting up for Sacramento? Possibly. All of the signs were pointing to failure but those signs were overlooked by the “veteran mentorship” the Kings were bringing in. Now the veteran mentorship isn’t being questioned here. The veterans added during the offseason have seemingly done a great job at that, but as far as on-court play is concerned that’s another story and it’s something that probably should have been considered more practically.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly interested in acquiring Hill in advance of the February 8 trade deadline. Odds are, if Hill does find himself on a team like the Cavs, he thrives. It’s an inevitable scenario that fans should prepare themselves for, wherever he may end up.
Could Hill be dealing with an injury issue that’s holding him back in Sacramento? Hill has reportedly seen a physical therapist who deals with ballet dancers, regarding his foot, but he said it feels much better following the visit according to David Locke. Hill’s dealt with a variety of injuries throughout his career so it’s certainly plausible that’s he’s dealing with another issue this season.
Don’t be expecting much value back for Hill in any trade scenario. It’ll likely be large contracts and a draft pick or two. His value isn’t high right now but a lot of teams know that they can buy low on him due to the fact he’s seemingly under performing.
The Kings aren’t seeking a veteran point guard in return for Hill either according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, so if it wasn’t already clear, they’re all in on the youth moving forward; the right organizational decision.
Sadly, it was over before it even began for George Hill in Sacramento. In what seemed like an attractive addition in the offseason, it simply hasn’t worked out and the team would be right to move on. There’s no denying that Hill can be a superb player, but just not on the Kings.
November 15, 2019, 1:25 amPaul MillsapPF, Denver Nuggets
Paul Millsap had a throwback game on Thursday, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting with nine rebounds, two assists and two triples.
Millsap continues to turn back the clock with his performances and he did so in only 27 minutes tonight. This is all with Jerami Grant (12 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two triples) also providing value. Mason Plumlee (10 points, seven rebounds and two assists) was actually vital in tonight's double-digit deficit comeback. The main guy to own right now is Millsap, but beware of his mileage.
November 15, 2019, 1:25 amTaurean PrinceSF, Brooklyn Nets
Tauren Prince had an inefficient night shooting the ball on Thursday, going 5-for-15 from the floor on his way to 12 points with eight rebounds, two assists and two triples.
Prince should be able to churn out some standard-league value while Caris LeVert (thumb) is sidelined for the next few weeks. He won't be as good as he was on the Hawks. but the points, triples and steals are still there and he's a top-90 player so far this year.
November 15, 2019, 1:24 amJoe HarrisSF, Brooklyn Nets
Joe Harris scored nine points on 4-of-11 shooting with three rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer on Thursday.
Harris was held to only nine points tonight and only attempted three shots from deep. He should be much better on the next one and while he won't light up the scoreboard, the triples should come at a higher rate.
November 15, 2019, 1:15 amNikola JokicC, Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets to their 101-93 win over the Nets on Thursday with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers.
Jokic's line is still under what he usually delivers and again, we're preaching patience here. He always takes a bit of time to warm up and there's no doubt in our minds that he'll be due for a top-15 finish.
November 15, 2019, 1:14 amWill BartonSG, Denver Nuggets
Will Barton played a game-high 38 minutes on Thursday, scoring 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.
Barton had another solid night scoring the ball and the Nuggets offense should have enough usage for him to provide some decent value. The Nuggets are actually sputtering on offense, ranked 22th in ORTG on the year and they'll need Barton to continue to be himself on offense.
November 15, 2019, 1:13 amMalik BeasleySG, Denver Nuggets
Malik Beasley sat out Thursday's game vs. the Nets with an illness.
Beasley sitting gave more time for Monte Morris (19 minutes, 10 points, three rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a triple) and it's a known fact that Morris is standard-league value when he gets enough time. It's just a short-term injury though, so Beasley should be re-inserted again soon.
November 15, 2019, 1:12 amJamal MurrayPG, Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray had an awful game on Thursday, scoring four points on 1-of-11 shooting to go with five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer.
Murray was getting all of the attention and collapsed on every time he drove in the paint. He's prone to some shooting slumps like this, but as we've seen before, he busts out of them in a huge way.
November 15, 2019, 1:11 amGary HarrisSG, Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris filled up the stat sheet on Thursday, scoring ten points on 4-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and two triples.
Harris's line was exactly what owners should be seeking. He got it done across the board and hit his triples. The top-40 days are long gone, but Harris is more than serviceable for standard leagues as the main man in Denver at shooting guard.
November 15, 2019, 1:10 amKyrie IrvingPG, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving scored 17 points on 8-of-20 shooting to go with six rebounds, nine assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in Thursday's 93-101 loss to the Nuggets.
Irving couldn't get his shot to fall in the second half, but he still delivered on the dimes tonight. He's still one of the top players in the league and if a slow stretch can pry open even the smallest buy-low window, you have to pounce on it. The only warning sign is his health as he played through a shoulder injury today.
November 15, 2019, 1:09 amJarrett AllenC, Brooklyn Nets
Jarret Allen scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a block on Thursday.
Allen had a monster game, contesting almost every shot in the paint, but the Nets just couldn't keep things going in the second half. He's clearly the better player between he and DeAndre Jordan (17 minutes, zero points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a block) and it's good to see the minutes reflect that.