Los Angeles Lakers big man Jordan Hill is a beast when he’s completely healthy, and this season is already showcasing how effective he can be from an efficiency standpoint. Hill is now has health on his side but has fallen victim to a deep rotation full of young players trying to prove themselves in the NBA.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni spoke about the conundrum of taking a second look at Hill’s role after he’s produced at a high level in limited duty.
“That would be the obvious, ‘Yeah,'” D’Antoni said of Hill, who sat the first three quarters of L.A.’s 91-85 loss to San Antonio on Friday and then filled up with box score with five points, four rebounds (three offensive) and an assist, all in the fourth quarter.
“It’s not my decision how many minutes I get, so I just want to go out there and produce when I’m out there with those minutes,” said Hill, who is averaging 6.3 points on 69.2 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds per game this season in just 14.0 minutes per game.
Hill may not be able to demand more minutes vocally, but he can continue to say a mouthful with his hustle, energy and other-worldly per-minute production. This season through three games, he’s averaged 16.3 points and 16.3 rebounds per 36 minutes after posting averages of 15.2 and 13.0 last season in 29 games that included just one start.
He’s energy manifested in human form, and as D’Antoni likes to say — the ball finds energy. In Hill’s case, he finds the ball as well as anyone.
Among all players this season regardless of position, only five who’ve played more than 40 minutes total have averaged more than 15 rebounds per 36 minutes — Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Joakim Noah, Kevin Love and Hill.
That’s elite company, which is apropos since Hill is a proven elite rebounder. D’Antoni is smart to find a way to get him on the floor. He’ll help limit opponents’ possessions and mitigate the Lakers’ shooting woes when they invariably happen with his ability to pound the glass on both ends.
It’s obvious that Hill needs to be more involved, and it’s up to D’Antoni to figure out how to make it work in his new-look rotation.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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