George Hill has only played 17 games for the Sixers but he’s already shown why the team was so anxious to acquire him before the playoffs.
Many were curious about what the Philadelphia 76ers were going to do at the NBA’s trade deadline. The team was clearly still short of some scoring, shooting, guard defense, and half-court facilitating.
With that unkept secret in mind, rumors flew about the possibility of the Sixers acquiring Toronto Raptors star, Kyle Lowry. A Philly-area native, Lowry seemed like the perfect match on paper. Sure there would have to be some financial creativity, but that’s nothing new to Daryl Morey.
Everything seemed set for the Sixers to acquire Lowry, almost no matter the price. That at least seemed the case for quite a while but the ever-shrewd Daryl Morey, realizing he’d have to give up two of his starters and likely at least two young pieces, opted instead to target one George Hill in what can only be described as: “Absolutely The Right Move.”
Think of Hill as Lowry-lite. He’s a two-way lead guard who has a solid outside shot and enough veteran presence to lift a locker room. In his short time with Philly, Hill has shown that he’s a team player, a great fit on and off the court, and that he understands the city.
In the 16 games Hill played with the Sixers in the regular season, he averaged 6.0 points, 1.9 assists, and 2.0 rebounds. Not exactly the most inspiring stats but there are a few factors to consider.
Hill is the new guy in town. It’s going to take time before he’s comfortable in the offense and he has to earn offensive touches. Additionally, Hill is coming off of a thumb injury that affected his shooting hand. In spite of this, his shooting percentages look just fine, it’s the volume we’ve seen impacted. Hill may have found his footing though and going forward we may see the George Hill we traded four second-round picks for.
In the first game against the Washington Wizards, Hill went a efficient 5/8 from the field and finished with 11 points. Did that decide the game? No but Hill was far and away the best Sixer off the bench. He led the bench in points, minutes, and assists. He also registered a -1 in terms of +/- which, while not great, was far superior to Dwight Howard (-13) and Shake Milton (-14). Now I could talk all day long about how +/- is a relative stat, and one day I will, but for today, it’s a part of the argument for George Hill to be the team’s sixth man during the playoffs.
While the conversation for a long time has been Shake Milton for sixth-man, and he likely could be going forward, George Hill has shown to the team’s present. Hill’s experience, consistency, and versatility, give him an obvious advantage over Milton.
For now, George Hill has earned the opportunity to be the team’s prime player off the bench, and that’s only with less than 20 games under his belt. George Hill is only going to improve with the Sixers from here and he’s already shown that adding him was absolutely the right move.