Sacramento Kings: What to expect from George Hill

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 28: George Hill
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 28: George Hill /

The Sacramento Kings addressed their veteran presence this summer and of those signings they made this offseason, the addition of George Hill stands as the most intriguing for a few reasons.

Finally embarking on a full-fledged rebuild, it was vital for the Sacramento Kings to supplement their vast foundation of promising talent by adding key veteran mentors to teach them their ways, both on and off the court.

They did exactly that four days into free agency, signing both big man Zach Randolph and veteran point guard George Hill to lucrative deals over the next couple of seasons. The addition of sure to be Hall-of-Famer Vince Carter came two days later when the 40-year-old agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Kings.

Just like that, the Kings had executed what was their most decisive offseason in recent memory with the additions of Randolph, Hill and Carter coming at a crucial time where the team looks to shape its long-term future. But while Randolph and Carter are at similar points in their career and check the prototypical boxes for what would be classified as a veteran-minded signing, the acquisition of Hill stands out on its own for a few reasons.

Unlike both Randolph and Carter, Hill is by all accounts in the prime of his playing career, albeit the last grasps of it, at 31 years old.

Hill’s play last year with the Utah Jazz is living proof of that as he posted his highest scoring and most efficient season by true shooting standards (Hill averaged a 59.9 percent true shooting percentage last year).

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It was a wonderful year where everything came together for Hill, including his own approach in taking on a more featured role in what ended up being his lone season in Salt Lake City.

However, it was a season that was not without some adversity for Hill, as a toe injury lingered all throughout the year, limiting him to just 49 regular season appearances and eight out of 11 playoff appearances.

Now by coming to Sacramento, Hill comes to a team that’s almost on the opposite trajectory compared to how he arrived to Utah during last year’s offseason.

While expectations are to be competitive as they can be all throughout the season, the Kings are undoubtedly projected to be on the outside of the playoff picture in an incredibly loaded Western Conference heading into the 2017-18 season.

Additionally, the Kings already have their point guard of the future (and presumably Hill’s successor) in De’Aaron Fox after selecting him with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft.

So it’s fair to wonder how both Hill’s play and influence will fare within an environment that’s unlike anything that the Indiana native has ever played under during his 10-year career.

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Having a player of Hill’s quality and caliber will obviously bring some much needed stability at a key position for the Kings. But the potential concern over Hill’s health will likely linger over his entire time in Sacramento and will only loom larger as he enters his mid-30s.

Not only that, but the topic of whether the Kings could ever entertain moving on from Hill if they’re ready to give Fox the full reins could also be a topic of debate throughout his stay, especially since the third year of Hill’s salary is only guaranteed at $1 million before a trigger date on July 1, 2019, per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

When healthy, Hill has clearly established himself as one of the most valuable, all-purpose point guards that are currently in the league right now. There’s no doubt that his skill-set and guidance will be essential for a Kings team that is looking to turn the page and lay the groundwork for a lasting and successful era.

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With that being said, the addition of Hill doesn’t come without lingering questions and only time will tell whether his stay in Sactown can surpass expectations or will ultimately turn into something else entirely.