Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hill the Right Fit

If you get past the fact that George Hill grew up in Indianapolis, starred at both Broad Ripple High School and IUPUI, you may notice that he's a pretty good basketball player. The three-year veteran was considered to be the heir apparent to Tony Parker as the franchise point guard for the Spurs, and carved out an important role with a San Antonio team that annually contends for NBA Championships.

I don't view the Hill-to-Pacers trade based on who George Hill is, or where he's from. It's solely based on the player he is: a pretty good one. It's nice to see an Indy kid play for the hometown Pacers, but even if Hill was from Topeka and starred at UMKC, I'd still think this was a good trade for the Blue and Gold.

This year's mediocre Draft was beyond a crap shoot. With a pick in the middle of the First Round, the Pacers likely weren't going to be able to get a starter-caliber prospect. But, they turned that 15th overall pick (and the 42nd selection plus Erazen Lorbek) into a guy that's going to come in immediately and push Darren Collison at the point, and potentially end up as the starting two-guard. The worst-case scenario for George Hill is that the Pacers will have a terrific sixth man. The worst-case scenario for Kawhi Leonard, Marshon Brooks, Chris Singleton or any of the other players the Pacers could've had at #15? Much, much worse. That's not to say those players don't have the potential to become good NBA players - they do - but you can only collect so many young players with potential.

The Pacers have plenty of potential, what they needed was a young player that has already proven that he belongs. Hill should bring a winning mentality from one of the great organizations in the NBA, and some much-needed leadership in what has at times been a fractured Pacers locker room. That sounds a lot better than pinning your hopes on Kawhi Leonard's massive hands, a 6'10 Latvian, or a guy that has languished in Europe for the last six years.

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