Not Taking It for Granted
Posted Dec 13 2007 10:13AM
By Lauren Brill
Dec. 6, 2007 -- Creating a significant amount of buzz when he entered the league, Grant Hill was chosen as the third overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. The former Blue Devil shared the NBA Rookie of the Year Award with point guard Jason Kidd and made history as the first rookie to amass the most votes in the NBA All-Star balloting. Throughout the remainder of the 90's, Hill set the tone for a storybook career as he led the league in triple-doubles in 1995-96, won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics and continued to stuff the stat sheet until a sign-and-trade deal in 2000. The transaction sent the highly praised small forward to the Orlando Magic.
Unfortunately, the dynamic duo of Hill and former Raptors star Tracy McGrady never materialized as Orlando had hoped. Listed on the Magic's roster from 2000-01 through the 2006-07 season, Hill's tenure with the Magic was hampered by a recurring ankle injury that resulted in surgery in 2003. Despite contracting a life-threatening Staph infection following surgery, Hill was back in action in the 2004-05 season and returned to the East's All-Star lineup that year. But in his final two seasons with the Magic, a myriad of injuries prevented him from performing like the phenom he once was.
In the 2007 summer the unrestricted free-agent signed with the Phoenix Suns. Attracted by the role he'd play and the team's playoff potential, the then 34-year-old signed a two-year deal. Hill's agent told ESPN.com, "He had offers for a lot more money. Grant wants a chance to win a championship and he wanted to go to a place that would give him a chance to contribute. Phoenix was the perfect fit."
Playing and starting in every game thus far this season, NBA fans are thrilled to see a reincarnation of the Hill that once played at the Palace. While it is still early in the season, the vet has already had more attempts from three-point land this season than he did in his in entire Orlando Magic career. Currently averaging 15.7 points, 1.1 steals, 3.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds, Hill has improved from last year in each of those statistical categories.
Nearing a triple-double against the Knicks on Dec. 2, Hill registered a season-high 28 points to go with seven assists and eight rebounds. After the Suns defeated the Knicks in the Big Apple, teammate Steve Nash told an NBA.com reporter, "Obviously (he is) a great teammate, versatile, very skilled very experienced." Nash said. "So he is a great fit. Then when he has a night like tonight where he gets on a roll obviously he is our best player." Currently in his 13th year in the league, the five-time NBA All-Star may not have had a fairy-tale career but his story appears to be headed towards a happy ending.