Mark Montieth headshot

Player Review: George Hill

by Mark Montieth | askmontieth@gmail.com

June 19, 2013, 11:10 AM

Editor's Note: Have a Pacers-related question for Mark? Want to be featured in his mailbag column? Send your questions to Mark on twitter at @MarkMontieth or by email at askmontieth@gmail.com.

Age: 27
Years Pro: 5
Status: Has four more years on a contract that pays $8 million per year.
Key Stats: Averaged 14.2 points, 4.7 assists and 1.5 turnovers during the regular season and 14.6 points, 4.3 assists and 2.2 turnovers in the playoffs.

George Hill qualifies as a good point guard, but he'd rather not.

He'd rather be a good shooting guard.

The 6-foot-2 Indianapolis native is stuck playing a position outside his comfort zone, thanks to his size and skill set, but gets a reprieve now and then when he plays alongside another point guard – in the instance of last season, D.J. Augustin.

It will be interesting to see where his career goes from here. Does Hill learn to love being a point guard? Does he get to slide over to shooting guard? Does he eventually become a backup at both positions? He's paid like a starting point guard, so that seems to be his fate for now.

Hill is one of the quietest Pacers both in the locker room and on the court, but that doesn't mean he's not effective. His assist-to-turnover ratio (3.06) ranked seventh in the NBA during the regular season. He shot well from the three-point line (37 percent) and foul line (82 percent), and was a capable defender. He also showed himself to be a clutch player, hitting game-winning driving shots in wins at Toronto in the season-opener and in Los Angeles against the Lakers, and some clutch last-minute free throws the second half of the season.

In case anyone needed to be reminded of his net worth, he delivered a statement with his absence in Game 5 of the second-round playoff series with New York, when he sat out with a slight concussion. The Pacers scored just 75 points that night, in a loss at Madison Square Garden.

Hill's greatest challenge is to become more consistent. Or perhaps it would be more fair to say even more consistent. He disappeared in a few playoff games, scoring three points on 1-of-8 shooting in Game 3 against Atlanta, five points on 2-of-9 shooting in Game 1 against Miami and one point on 0-of-4 shooting in Game 5 against Miami. Scoring isn't his primary role, but it likely was no coincidence that the Pacers lost all three of those games.

“I felt I wasn't aggressive tonight,” he said after the Game 5 loss in Miami. “Pretty passive. I just need to be in attack mode more.”

It wasn't the first time Hill talked of needing to attack more. His tendency toward “passive” behavior seemed a reflection of his upbringing as a shooting guard, and will need to change. This, however, was his first season as a full-time starter at the position, and he still has time to improve. His shooting touch, meanwhile, also gives him the flexibility to slide to shooting guard when matchups call for it. He doesn't attempt to hide the fact he's more comfortable there, but he also can't hide the fact he's undersized for the shooting guard position.

Hill's contributions throughout the season were somewhat hidden by the emergence of Paul George and Lance Stephenson, the late-season revival of Roy Hibbert and the numbing consistency of David West. But he had his moments. He had 29 points, seven assists and two turnovers at Minnesota. He had 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists at Sacramento. He had a triple double against Philadelphia with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, although the assist was later taken away after a league review. He had 22 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and one turnover at Utah. He had 27 points against the Lakers. He had 26 in that Game 4 win over the Knicks, in which he suffered his concussion.

All in all, he scored 20 or more points 15 times, and either 18 or 19 points another 12 times. He kept his turnovers low, and his shooting percentages high. He can hit the 3-pointer, and get to the basket. He might not be great in any one area of play, but he's good in all areas.

With the talent that surrounds him, that could be good enough for the Pacers to get where they want to go. Especially if he remembers to attack.

2013-14 Season Tickets »
Playoff Priority, Biggest Games, Best Pricing