5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Kobe8Fan on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:06 pm

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Since coming over to the Los Angeles Lakers in the March 2012 trade involving Derek Fisher, Jordan Hill has been a nice surprise to the organization. Now, they'll need him to be more than a super-sub.

It's time for the former Arizona Wildcat to step up and be a part of the Lakers' starting rotation in 2013-14, but whether or not the coaching staff and/or his body allow him that opportunity is still in question.

Hill does so many things well, that it's worth looking at precisely why the Lakers would be best served to have him on the floor at the opening tip at the four spot and give him starter's minutes if he's up for the task physically coming off hip surgery.

Here's a look at five reasons head coach Mike D'Antoni should consider it:

1. Defense

For anyone who hasn't noticed, Hill excels at on-ball defense and gives incredible effort on that end of the floor (Drew Garrison over at Silver Screen and Roll did this outstanding piece that breaks down just how good he is at it). At the NBA level, so much of a player's effectiveness on defense is about athleticism and desire as opposed to coaching -- especially when it comes to defending the ball.

The good news for L.A. is that defending the bal-lhandler is something he does better than anyone in the Lakers' frontcourt (possibly even the entire team), and it's worth noting that Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol are both relatively weak in that area being north of age 30. For a team that gave up 106.6 points per 100 possessions in 2012-13, the Lakers' focus needs to be on how to better manage their lack of athleticism and effectiveness in transition.

One way to do that is to give your most athletic big man, who's proven to pride himself on stopping opponents inside and out, an opportunity to do it for a sustained period of time from the start of the game.

Hill's earned it. The Lakers desperately need to improve at getting stops, and he's been their most consistent stopper. It's a natural progression for him and the team.

2. Rebounding

Extra possessions and, more importantly, limiting opponents' extra possessions is one of the most important, yet consistently overlooked fundamentals in basketball. Now that the league's 2012-13 rebounding leader has left town, Hill can step in and shine even more in this area as a starter. Dwight Howard averaged 12.4 rebounds per contest in his lone season with the Lakers, which was tops in the NBA. His per-minute production was 12.5 per 36 minutes.

Incredibly, Jordan Hill was a more efficient rebounder than Howard last year with a monstrous 13.0 boards per 36 minutes. The caveat is, of course, the fact that he did his damage mostly at 100 percent health and is now coming off hip surgery. It stands to reason that his production could suffer as a result, but if he can get anywhere close to that number, the Lakers will gain more possessions.

That's a critical aspect of winning close games, and the Lakers figure to be in a lot of them next year. Lakers legend James Worthy once said Hill "eats glass" via a Time Warner Cable SportsNet telecast last season, and the numbers back up that claim.

The Lakers need to let him keep eating.

3. Gasol can play center

Gasol is a hybrid big man who can play either the power forward or center position, but he had a host of problems fitting in as a forward in D'Antoni's system as he got the ball out of his comfort zone more often than not and shot a career-worst 47 percent from the field. That was largely due to the fact he got the ball in the high post more often rather than in the paint, where he's effective as both a scorer and passer.

The Lakers didn't see a lot of the vintage Gasol, because Howard took up valuable real estate due to his offensive limitations (he spurned the pick-and-roll, too) and need to be within close proximity to the basket.

Hill at the four spot would allow Gasol to play primarily at center, though when Gasol and Kaman are on the floor together, Pau would likely slide down to power forward. To start the game, however, Gasol could get into a rhythm early by scoring and setting up the shooters on the wings.

Interestingly enough, one of those spot-up shooters could actually include Hill, which leads to the next point...

4. He's improving his outside shot

When the Lakers broke for the summer, D'Antoni and Hill had a noteworthy exchange:

Via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

"He (D'Antoni) talked about what I need to work on for this coming summer," Hill told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "My jump shot -- he definitely wanted me to work on my outside jumper."

To fit comfortably in D'Antoni's system, regardless of position, the ability to shoot from mid-to-long range is key at every position. Hill wants to take that a step further and become a stretch four who can keep defenses honest by knocking down mid-range shots with consistency as well as the occasional look from long range. Doing so would solidify his place in the rotation and make him valuable as a starter since he already rebounds and defends well and can score in the low post.

Whether or not he actually improves his jumper is yet to be determined, but when comparing him to one of the league's best stretch power forwards in Ryan Anderson, he's got his work cut out for him:

Jordan Hill 2012-13:

FG%, 16 ft. - < 3-point range: 34 percent (16-46)

All jump shots: 33 percent (25-75)

3-point FG%: 0 (0-2)

Ryan Anderson 2012-13:

FG%, 16 ft. - < 3-point range: 46 percent (74-160)

All jump shots: 37 percent (332-880)

3-point FG%: 38 percent (213-557)

Obviously, comparing him to a player who finished second to Stephen Curry in 3-pointers made is a little unfair to Hill, but it shows where the bar is set in terms of prototypical fours who can knock down perimeter shots. Hill has a long way to go in order to reach that status, but given the talent around him, he only needs to bump up that mid range number in order to function more productively within the framework of the Lakers' offense. He'll spend more time pounding the offensive glass than a player like Anderson, which in turn will mitigate his inability to be an elite 3-point shooter.

5. The intangibles

Sometimes, one has to go beyond analytics to look at a player's effectiveness, relying on the eye test for evaluation. Hill passes that with flying colors because he brings athleticism and energy to a team devoid of such in recent years. He's a young, hungry player still out to prove he belongs in the NBA, and he's willing to do the dirty work and fill up the stat sheet in ways other than scoring to prove it.

In fact, scoring has been something the Lakers have done consistently well over the past three seasons. Since winning the NBA title in 2010, they've finished in the top half of the league in offense and ranked as high as sixth in 2012-13 with an average of 102.2 points per game.

The things Hill does better than anyone on his team are the areas where the Lakers need to improve the most in order to compete in 2013-14.

In short, he'll defend (L.A. was 22nd in points allowed with 101.0 per game in 2012-13) and pound the defensive glass (the Lakers gave up the 19th-most offensive rebounds last year) relentlessly.

If he can stay healthy enough to log starter's minutes and hold up while doing so, then the Lakers will be a better basketball team for it.


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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby The Rock on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:10 pm

Hes a borderline starter but his perfect role is being the 1st big off the bench. We tried him as a starter last year and it didnt go very well

I hope as he gets older he evolves into an Udonis Haslem type player...someone who can start and go to the bench based on need. Hustle/rebound/defend, hit an open 15 footer/convert open dunks what not.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Kobe8Fan on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:13 pm

The Rock wrote:Hes a borderline starter but his perfect role is being the 1st big off the bench. We tried him as a starter last year and it didnt go very well

I hope as he gets older he evolves into an Udonis Haslem type player...someone who can start and go to the bench based on need. Hustle/rebound/defend, hit an open 15 footer/convert open dunks what not.

He only started 1 game last year. :man3:
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby The Rock on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:15 pm

Kobe8Fan wrote:
The Rock wrote:Hes a borderline starter but his perfect role is being the 1st big off the bench. We tried him as a starter last year and it didnt go very well

I hope as he gets older he evolves into an Udonis Haslem type player...someone who can start and go to the bench based on need. Hustle/rebound/defend, hit an open 15 footer/convert open dunks what not.

He only started 1 game last year. :man3:


I know lol but he didnt do too well. I remember a couple other games where he got heavy minutes when Antawn was benched...maybe I thought Hill started then...but during that time I didnt think Hill did very well. He'll get better Im sure
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby therealdeal on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:47 pm

He should absolutely be the starter. He's far more valuable there.

I'd also argue that Wesley Johnson should be the starting SF as well when Kobe gets back. That'd give us two athletic, rangy, young bodies to compete with the uber-athletes of the NBA today.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Weezy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:55 pm

I can't disagree, he needs to be the starter next to Pau for defense, rebounding and hustle. In most cases he'd be a bench PF, but as of now he's our best PF and for that reason alone he should start, then add those listed here. Unless between now and training camp we sign a better PF I don't see how he doesn't start, Pau needs to be a C at this stage of his career and Kaman needs to be his backup. I've assumed Hill is going to be the starter for months now (well maybe A month, after seeing we were going the cheap route and not looking to trade for a more established starting PF). I mean who else is gonna start, Harris? Kelly? Pau with Kaman at Center? Not unless we want the slowest starting front court in the NBA.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby therealdeal on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:56 pm

Weezy wrote:I can't disagree, he needs to be the starter next to Pau for defense, rebounding and hustle. In most cases he'd be a bench PF, but as of now he's our best PF and for that reason alone he should start, then add those listed here. Unless between now and training camp we sign a better PF I don't see how he doesn't start, Pau needs to be a C at this stage of his career and Kaman needs to be his backup. I've assumed Hill is going to be the starter for months now. I mean who else is gonna start, Harris? Kelly? Pau with Kaman at Center? Not unless we want the slowest starting front court in the NBA.

And Harris, Landry, and Kelly are so green they're basically vegetables. They need a lot of time to prove they can be part of a rotation, let alone starting...

Hill is by far the best candidate to start.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Alcindor on Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:14 pm

I just hope Dan isn't going to try and make him a stretch 4, he's shown that he is not a jump shooter and one summer coming off an injury isn't likely to change that.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Sirron on Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:29 pm

so what you're saying is we need a better starting Power Forward :man6:
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Rooscooter on Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:02 pm

Not sure I can get behind 3,4 and 5...... Also can he bring the energy and rebounding in starters minutes? He tired in long stretches last year. Another issue might be fouls in starters minutes as well.

Lets say he starts and plays 82 at 30 min a game..... That's 2,460 minutes..... He's played just 2,758 in his entire career.

He's a good choice for a team that needs a Rambis style PF that doesn't score..... But we need scoring from that position consistently and that's something he hasn't done much of in his career.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby lakersin4 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:18 pm

As of right now, he needs to be the starting PF because the next best option is Pau-Kaman.. On paper we'd get murdered on defense with both of those guys in & we should avoid lineups with both of them in it unless we're playing a team that's extremely soft inside or something.. but you don't REALLY know until you play them. & I'm sure D'antoni will experiment. If we landed Tyrus Thomas or LO I'd be more comfortable with them starting at PF, if somehow Jamison ends up coming back I'd still start Hill for his defense, but I'd feel much better about our depth at the position. I think the position is wide open for Kelly or Harris or whoever else we sign to take.. Hill is a good player & I hope he remains a Laker for a long time, but he can only give you 16 MPG without getting hurt, & even then he sometimes gets hurt.. If 1 of these rookies doesn't surprise us, it might be a very long painful season.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Punk-101 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:51 am

If Pau plays any time at PF with Kaman at center, I'm going to murder my TV.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby abeer3 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:26 am

Punk-101 wrote:If Pau plays any time at PF with Kaman at center, I'm going to murder my TV.


yeah, not looking forward to that at all. i'd start pau/hill, rest pau quickly for kaman, then bring pau back and go super small for a few minutes around him.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby therealdeal on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:41 am

abeer3 wrote:
Punk-101 wrote:If Pau plays any time at PF with Kaman at center, I'm going to murder my TV.


yeah, not looking forward to that at all. i'd start pau/hill, rest pau quickly for kaman, then bring pau back and go super small for a few minutes around him.

My rotation to start the season would be (assuming we don't sign another PF and Kelly turns out to be able to play):

Hill/Pau

followed by

Hill/Kaman

followed by

Kelly/Pau

Three different kinds of attacks there. Obviously the last slot wouldn't be long and that team would have to really make it count offensively.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby khmrP on Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:32 am

Even if Kaman starts, it wont be long before he gets injured and Hill will be forced into the starting lineup anyways.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby lakersin4 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:51 pm

Unless you have a Serge Ibaka or someone like that at PF, any team with Pau starting at C is going to be bad at protecting the rim & probably bad on defense in general.. Same with Kaman at C No matter if it's Pau & Hill or Kaman & Pau or units with Kelly or Harris at the 4.. We're not going to be good at interior defense. We're going to be relying on Rambis to come up with some good schemes that hide our weaknesses.. We got much quicker on the wings & have a youngish PG that can stay in front of guys now in Farmar.. If our guys go out there & actually play good smart team defense & use our speed on the wings to our advantage, we won't have to rely on funneling everything to the bigs like we did with Bynum/Pau & again with D12..

If your perimeter and transition defense is good & your team has a strong defensive identity, you can get away with a couple old slow guys like Pau & Kaman at times as long as they make it worth your while on the offensive end, & the only way that happens is if Pau really reclaims the post & shows off that amazing post game that's been hiding in there somewhere. Kaman is going to take almost all of his shots from the perimeter & it's going to be entirely up to Pau to establish our inside presence.. He hasn't had that role for a long time, but if he still has something resembling his 09-10 & 10-11 seasons, we might surprise alot of people.. Featuring Drew & D12 can't account for all of his decline & I know many people point to the Mavs series but noone really had an answer for Dirk in those playoffs..
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Juronimo on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:59 pm

Well since Hill is our only PF he is the starting PF by default. Starting Pau and Kaman, I really hope that's not being entertained. That would be a disaster.

Pau is a center at this stage of his career, in fact he's been the most productive at center since '08.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby dj vitus on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:55 pm

I'm not sure he can get past 25 mins a game without either fouling out or committing too many team defense blunders. Or God forbid getting injured again quickly.

Despite my criticisms of him, it's not for lack of heart or lack of caring. Love the hustle and rebounding, but we need more. Or at least hide your weaknesses.

Hopefully he worked on his fundamentals this Summer so that we'll see a more polished version of him this season.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Lakerjones on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:10 am

therealdeal wrote:
Weezy wrote:I can't disagree, he needs to be the starter next to Pau for defense, rebounding and hustle. In most cases he'd be a bench PF, but as of now he's our best PF and for that reason alone he should start, then add those listed here. Unless between now and training camp we sign a better PF I don't see how he doesn't start, Pau needs to be a C at this stage of his career and Kaman needs to be his backup. I've assumed Hill is going to be the starter for months now. I mean who else is gonna start, Harris? Kelly? Pau with Kaman at Center? Not unless we want the slowest starting front court in the NBA.

And Harris, Landry, and Kelly are so green they're basically vegetables. They need a lot of time to prove they can be part of a rotation, let alone starting...

Hill is by far the best candidate to start.


^^ Agreed.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby lakersin4 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:31 pm

If Kelly or Harris knock down 3's consistently don't be surprised to see MDA make them the starter.. He only wants 1 big in the paint.. I don't know if you'd consider Hill a post player but he doesn't have enough range or speed for D'antoni if Pau is on the floor.
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby Rooscooter on Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:01 pm

dj vitus wrote:I'm not sure he can get past 25 mins a game without either fouling out or committing too many team defense blunders. Or God forbid getting injured again quickly.

Despite my criticisms of him, it's not for lack of heart or lack of caring. Love the hustle and rebounding, but we need more. Or at least hide your weaknesses.

Hopefully he worked on his fundamentals this Summer so that we'll see a more polished version of him this season.


This is pretty much my take as well. His hustle does cover a lot of not knowing what to do out there on defense.... not knowing what to do on defense is a team affliction.... not hustling is also a team affliction. So he's got a leg up to start with. :man12:
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Re: 5 Reasons Jordan Hill Needs to Start at PF in 2013-14

Postby trodgers on Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:09 pm

This part of the article was a bit of a head scratcher:

Jordan Hill 2012-13:

FG%, 16 ft. - < 3-point range: 34 percent (16-46)

All jump shots: 33 percent (25-75)

3-point FG%: 0 (0-2)

Ryan Anderson 2012-13:

FG%, 16 ft. - < 3-point range: 46 percent (74-160)

All jump shots: 37 percent (332-880)

3-point FG%: 38 percent (213-557)

Obviously, comparing him to a player who finished second to Stephen Curry in 3-pointers made is a little unfair to Hill, but it shows where the bar is set in terms of prototypical fours who can knock down perimeter shots. Hill has a long way to go in order to reach that status, but given the talent around him, he only needs to bump up that mid range number in order to function more productively within the framework of the Lakers' offense. He'll spend more time pounding the offensive glass than a player like Anderson, which in turn will mitigate his inability to be an elite 3-point shooter.

So, Hill hit about 1/15 as many jumpers as Ryan Anderson and he did so at 4% lower FG%
He hit about 1/5 of the 16' to 3-pt shots as Anderson did, at 12% lower FG%
He hit 213 fewer threes than Anderson.

Why include that in a comparison?

Travis Rodgers bit only one fewer boxer in the last year than Mike Tyson did in Tyson's boxing career.
Rodgers also knocked out zero boxers, coming in 44 shy of Tyson.
Maybe Rodgers can become as good as Tyson.

No.
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