As training camp is now underway and the season now about a month away from the start of the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers roster appears to be taking form.
With Howard no longer of a member of the purple and gold, Pau Gasol is expected to slide over to the center position and it will provide a golden opportunity for Jordan Hill to become the team’s starting power forward.
Hill will be stepping into role that will allow him produce and make a larger impact to the team. Throughout his four years in the NBA, the 26-year-old has not had the chance to crack the starting lineup on a consistent basis for any team he played for in his career.
Hill knows that this a prime opportunity and will do everything he can to help his team be as successful as possible by doing whatever is asked him, which includes improving his mid-range and 3-point shooting this offseason per request of head coach Mike D’Antoni.
“This whole I have been working on my mid range and knocking them down consistently,” Hill told Sports Out West on Saturday during Lakers’ media day. “I feel real good and real comfortable about it. It is going to be a great season for all of us. We just got to out there and work together.”
As for his place in Lakers uptempo offense, Hill has played for D’Antoni before during his rookie season in 2009-10 with the New York Knicks. So Hill has a familiarity with what is expected and has a positive outlook on what the team can do this season.
“I know D’Antoni. I was rookie when he was there in New York,” Hill told Sports Out West on Saturday at Lakers media day. “I already know what is ahead of us (and) I feel really good about it. The whole team, the coaching staff together so it’s good to get to know everybody, what they can do and do it on the court.”
What Hill can provide to this Lakers team is a player that brings energy every night, crashes the board, plays defense and knows his position on this team as a role player who can produce when called upon. What is also is great about His role on this team is that he is not called upon to play outside of himself as he as plays with offensively talented players in Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young who take the burden of the scoring for the Lakers.
This time around Hill can be productive within D’Antoni’s offense because when he is needed to contribute offensively it will come in spurts due to the talent that surrounds him. He will not have to be a force offensive but just fill his role byknocking down jumpers, possibly 3pt shots, make tip ins and on defense focus on protecting the paint, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds.
All what is listed is within the four-year veteran’s ability and skill level, so the only questions marks that currently lie with him are about health concerns as he is making his way back from surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his hip and a microfracture procedure to repair damaged cartilage.
He appears to be progressing along in his rehabilitation from his surgery and will likely use the eight-game preseason to help him get back into form. Barring any setbacks Hill should be healthy and ready to contribute when the regular season begins on Oct. 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I feel good, really good, “Hill said on Saturday during Lakers media day. “It’s not 100 percent, it will never be 100 percent but it feels good enough, great enough I should say that it (will allow) me to go out there and do things I am known to do, which is bang and be a defensive stopper.”
Health permitting Hill in his new larger role on this Lakers’ team should make an immediate impact, which will help his team exceed the low expectations that have been placed on them and make some noise in the postseason this upcoming season.
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Garcia IV
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