Los Angeles Lakers: Breakout Year For Jordan Hill?

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Jordan Hill in 2012 from the Houston Rockets after trading point guard Derek Fisher. Hill was originally selected eighth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.

His size and hustle are trademark abilities that have made him an intriguing player. It was not until a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 that Hill started to find meaningful minutes.

He finished the game with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks en route to a Lakers victory (114-106). Hill would see an increase in minutes from 11.7 in just seven regular season games to 18.1 minutes in 12 playoff games that season.

Fast forward to today, where Hill signed his second contract with the Lakers after a two-year, $8 million deal. The Lakers inked him to a two-year, $9 million deal with the second year being a team option next season.

Hill was one the first player that Los Angeles re-signed back to their roster, a move that Kobe Bryant advocated. Hill will be looked upon to take on a new role contrary to prior seasons of scarce minutes and injuries.

Hill started a career high 32 games last season, and also appeared in 72 games averaging 9.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in each. This season he will enter the Lakers starting lineup as center, expecting to provide the team with defensive intensity and rim protection.

Hill has never been known to be a one-on-one interior player. Much of his offense is predicated off of feeds through penetration, putbacks, and transition plays.

Hill finished at 57.6 percent on dunks, according to basketball-reference.com.  Last season, he played in the high octane offense run by Mike D’Antoni, finding himself drifting around the perimeter during plays.

With Byron Scott signing as head coach, the Lakers will likely take on a traditional offense of allowing their post players to play the paint. The Lakers are expecting to run their offense through Kobe Bryant, and his familiarity with Hill can ease the pressure on his role.

Rebounding should be the biggest benefit from Hill’s extended minutes. Per 100 possessions last season, he grabbed 17.3 boards per game.

The Lakers struggled last season, only averaging 41 rebounds per game. Hill gets off the floor quickly, and crashes the boards with constant energy.

If his efforts are constant, it could improve a Lakers team that only produced 27 wins last season.

Finding consistency in playing time and production has always been the question for Jordan Hill. Last season he played the most minutes of his career per game (20.8), and it benefited his contribution to the team.

Per 36 minutes, Hill is averaging 16.7 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. It is expected that he will log major minutes, despite the Lakers crowded frontcourt.

With Pau Gasol departing in free agency, Hill is the lone returning center on the roster aside from Robert Sacre. Opportunity will be there for Hill to be a key piece in a Lakers season with many questions.

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Tags: Jordan Hill Los Angeles Lakers

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