Jordan Hill has been one of the Lakers’ best players so far in this young season. The 26-year-old is leading the league in field goal percentage (73.3 percent) and offensive rebound percentage (23.3 percent), however, he is playing just 14 minutes per game.
According to Arash Makazi of ESPN Los Angeles, Pau Gasol has noticed how big Jordan has been down the stretch in the last two games and would like to see Hill get more minutes going forward:
[pullquote]”I’d also like to see Jordan get more minutes too because Jordan is working his butt off. He’s really hustling. We don’t always have to play with a 4 who’s small.”[/pullquote]
However, head coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t surprised that Gasol wants to see more minutes for Hill:
Careful, Mike, you’ve only just got on good terms with the Spaniard…
D’Antoni also had some thoughts on Hill’s game, saying that he sees the 6’10” forward/center as a “spurt guy”, according to Dave McMenamin:
[pullquote]”Jordan is kind of a spurt guy,” D’Antoni said after practice Monday. “The longer the minutes, the [more tired] he gets, the less productive. So he spurts out there and he gives us some energy and he doing a great job. There’s no doubt we’re trying to find him a few more minutes here and there, but we’re trying to be strategic about how his minutes are going to impact the game and they have so far.”[/pullquote]
D’Antoni might have a point – Hill has carved out a role as a guy who can come into the game and have an instant effect on the action with his energy and hustle – though that “spurt” can surely be increased from 14 minutes a night to at least 20.
If D’Antoni was being careful with Jordan for health reasons, the lack of playing time would be more understandable – it was revealed today that Hill has a bone bruise on his right knee, although he isn’t expected to miss any time to allow the injury to heal and has apparently been playing with the bruise for weeks – but it appears that it’s just more of a coaching decision.
Chris Kaman “complained” about his lack of minutes so far in the nicest possible way. Let’s hope that both Kaman and Hill see increased court time in the near future to avoid Kaman being less friendly and before Hill begins to voice concerns of his own.