NBA Experience: 3 Years
Contract Status: Team option for 2012-13
2011-12 Averages: 4.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 14.1 mpg, 49% FG, 63% FT
He’s played for four teams in only three years of NBA service and Jordan Hill’s current contract calls for a team option for the 2012-13 season. The natural question is will the Lakers exercise the option on Hill’s contract? The bigger question is has he finally found an NBA home?
If Mike Brown’s late-season usage of Hill is any indication then he might indeed have a place to call home for the foreseeable future in Los Angeles.
Hill’s arrival in L.A. was met with mixed reviews though most of it had little to do with his thus-far underachieving career. The out-of-nowhere trade of Derek Fisher shocked, surprised and angered many Lakers faithful. It also came across as pointless when Hill sat at the end of the bench for more than a month. Then all of that was quickly forgotten when Coach Brown called on Hill to play big minutes against Oklahoma City. Hill went on to post an impressive double-double during the Lakers dramatic OT win that gave us all plenty of false hope heading into the postseason.
While the Lakers didn’t fare well in the playoffs Hill showed the type of talent that made him top 10 pick coming out of Arizona. Hill’s active and athletic style of play proved to be just what the Lakers needed off the bench. During the postseason Hill ate up all the minutes that were going to Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy as Brown used Hill to spell both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Of course we can’t talk about Hill having a future in purple and gold without discussing his future in a Houston courtroom. Hill was arrested mere weeks before he became a Laker. By the end of April he was charged with felony assault which could result in jail time if convicted. That could weigh heavily in how the Lakers handle his contract. It could also be nothing more than some bad press which will require a PR cleanup job. Time will tell.
No matter what happens with Hill the Lakers are going to needs players in his mold going forward. If Gasol is going to be traded then having a Hill on the roster will prove invaluable. In Coach Brown’s system it became painfully obvious that Gasol’s role was not a good fit whereas Hill was the ideal compliment for Bynum. You don’t have to call plays for a guy like Hill who gets his by playing an aggressive and active style that works well with Drew in the post. Besides that Hill is young and athletic, two areas of need this Lakers team should have addressed yesterday.