Even though Jordan Hill played a career-high in minutes (20.8) and games (72) last season, the big man wanted more, and rightly so.
Hill, along with other big men on the team, became frustrated at times throughout last season due to Mike D’Antoni’s coaching style and management skills.
However, with D’Antoni’s departure, Hill decided to stay in Los Angeles and re-signed on a two-year, $18 million deal. Even though the second year is a team option, many were surprised with the Lakers’ decision to offer Hill such a large deal this summer, though it looks as the Arizona product will be a big part of Byron Scott’s rotation next season.
“Scott puts a premium on defense and rebounding, and he believes Hill was underutilized as a Laker because of D’Antoni,” Kevin Ding wrote in a recent article for Bleacher Report. “Bear in mind how fantastic a newly acquired Hill was for Mike Brown in the Lakers’ two-round 2012 playoff run.”
Scott also had some nice words for Hill during a recent interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
“One thing I love about him is you don’t have to run plays for Jordan. Jordan’s one of those guys who’s going to go get it off the glass [and] is going to do his job, he’s going to do the things that he knows that can make him successful,” Scott said, who is currently in negotiations to become the next head coach of the Lakers. “He’s one of the best offensive rebounders in the league, he runs the floor, he’s still very athletic. But I think the biggest thing is you can put him in there and you don’t necessarily have to worry about him crying or begging or asking plays to be called for him.”
While it’s a small sample size (nine games) Hill averaged 16.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.8 minutes per game as the starting center last year, and all signs are pointing to the 6’10” big man starting at the five for Scott next season.
“He can be a double-double guy just on sheer hustle and tenacity, and that’s what I liked about Jordan when I saw him all this year – he just did his job every single night,” said Scott, who won three championships with the Lakers during the 80s. “He commanded respect because of the fact he hit the boards every single time on both ends of the floor. Those types of players are hard to find, especially in today’s game – everybody wants the ball. But he’s the guy that I thought, every night, he went out there and did his job and that was to hit the glass, play defense and run the floor, and I thought he did that extremely well.”