Although the poor play of center Roy Hibbert hurt the Indiana Pacers down the stretch last season, guard George Hill took a lot of the blame as well. With Hibbert, George and power forward David West the only starters remaining from a year ago (guard Lance Stephenson let for the Charlotte Hornets in free agency and forward Paul George suffered a fractured leg), it could be a very long year for the Pacers.
Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders believes Hill may have an improved season in the absence of Stephenson and George.
While Hill may not fit the traditional criteria as a “player on the rise” as he is set to enter his seventh year in the league, Hill has a tremendous opportunity to really step up as the leader of the Pacers. In recent years in Indianapolis, talk has been dominated by Paul George’s outstanding play, Lance Stephenson and his antics and even the inconsistent play of Roy Hibbert – there hasn’t been much talk about Hill. The talk could now be centered on Hill as George will miss most of, if not all of, next season after suffering a horrific leg injury with Team USA. Stephenson is gone and Hibbert remains inconsistent and trade rumors are flying that team is shopping him. It seems Hill has grasped the opportunity to be a leader as Hill is said to be having a great summer. Pacers head coach Frank Vogel has noticed his workouts and thinks he will have a “big year.”
Hill averaged 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 44.2% from the field, 36.5% from beyond the arc and 80.7% from the free throw line last season. In his six-year NBA career, he’s gone for 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 44.8% from the floor, 37.1% from three and 80.8% from the charity stripe.
Be sure to check FanSided’s official NBA page to keep up to date on the latest news and rumors from around the league all summer long.