Spurs fan here coming over to give you some insight on George Hill. I've been meaning to do this for awhile now but got caught up with life. Oh well, better late than never. I'm sure some of you guys know some about George's game being he grew up right down the street but I'm also sure his game has transformed since being in the NBA.
Here in San Antonio the Spurs are very close to the community and George was no different, Everyone here is sad to see him go not only because he was a great player but also a great person to have in our city. Saying that, I am glad he is going back home to the Pacers, not only for his sake, but also because I have always liked the Pacers and they have always been my favorite team out east.
Now to talk some about his game.
1. What is his true position?
I can imagine that this has been a popular topic since draft day and also since we argued about this almost every day as a Spurs fan. Yes, George Hill is a combo guard, but be dubious of his PG skills. Make no mistake that George's natural position is definitely the 2 and he is a lot more comfortable when playing there. He isn't a great facilitator, doesn't have great court vision and has trouble running an effective P&R. Saying that, the game isn't going to crumble if you enter him in at that position, if you know what I mean. He has the ability to make it up in different ways, just expect the ball movement and pace of the game to decrease with him at the helm.
2. His biggest Strengths
Since college and coming into the league as a rookie, George has improved drastically in his 3 pt shot. He is a threat everywhere on the court with his 3 ball and is absolutely deadly from the corners (remember this). Last season george shot the 3 ball around a 30% clip from the wings and key and close to 50% in the corners.
George is also a great defender, his long arms make him great defending the passing lanes and contesting shots. He moves well laterally and is very athletic. At times I felt the Spurs leaned on him too much in regard to his defense (guarding others out of position) but with your roster I don't really see that happening which will let him defend his natural positions more.
He can definitely score the rock. One of George's biggest problems in a Spurs uniform was his lack of assertiveness. Coach Popovich continually had to grill George and remind him that he was one of the best scorers on the court but when that message was taken to heart George could take over a game offensively. He is a great shooter (mid range and 3 pt) as touched on earlier, great at getting to the rim, and great at getting to the line and finishing.
Another big strength that gained him huge respect from Spurs fans was his ability to perform in the playoffs. To Spurs fans, that is all that matters. George has been one of the best playoff performers for the Spurs since he's entered the league which is huge because it doesn't always work out that way. He was one of the biggest reasons we were able to beat Dallas in the first round 2 years ago. I also think that will help a lot with your young roster.
He also takes no shi* from anyone! Not even Kobe.
As I said before George tends to shy away at times or needs to be reminded that he is in fact an NBA player. Coach Popovich was always on him to play more aggressive and confidently because that's when he is at his best. Being on a veteran team could have had an effect on that and now him being the "veteran" on a younger team could indeed change that whole problem. He does have an active mind though and you could tell that if he doesn't play well, it does take a pretty big toll on him and his confidence.
Defensively George is pretty solid but there is also a couple problems that arise with him. He is a tweener so at time guarding bigger stronger 2s has been a problem. Like I said earlier, I feel the Spurs had him guarding out of position too much which didn't help this and with your current roster of athletic 3s, I don't see that being the case here. George does have a problem guarding the P&R though, he isn't the best at fighting through screens and definitely needs to work on this part of his game.
Road Play- As a Spurs fan this was the most frustrating part of George's game. One night he would have 18 pts on 8-10 shooting playing the Lakers at home and the next game he would be 1-10 shooting at Detroit. For whatever reason it was, George had serious problems playing on the road with the Silver and Black. Here are Georges stats from last season comparing his Home and Road #'s. As you can see, it's a pretty big drop off for a guy who averaged close to 30mpg for us.
Home: 14.3 PPG, 53% FG, 50% 3FG
Road: 8.8 PPG, 41% FG, 27% 3FG
Hopefully his road woes disappear with his new surroundings.
On the flip side, I hope Kawhi Leonard works out for us Our front office must have seen something to target the kid and I'm not going to go against there judgement.
Hopefully this helps a little to some of you guys who haven't seen George play a whole lot. If you guys would like to know anything else regarding him don't hesitate to ask (#s and all). Hopefully we can have many good basketball discussions going forward here, which seems to be a pretty active board.
Good luck next season (if there is one ) and Go Spurs Go!