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    Default Hillís value underscores gamble for Spurs in Kawhi Leonard trade

    Hillís value underscores gamble for Spurs in Kawhi Leonard trade
    Tim Griffin

    SI.comís Point Forward blog is counting down the top 100 players in the NBA during a course of daily reports over the past several days.

    No current Spurshave been ranked in numbers 70 through 100 that have been revealed so far. I would expect the Spurs will have three players in the final rankings ó Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.

    But one Spurs player from last seasonís roster has been listed so far. And George Hillís ranking at No. 73 highlights the importance of the Spursí biggest off-season acquisitions.

    After three seasons with the Spurs, Hill was swapped to Indiana in a draft-day trade for a package of young players highlighted by No. 1 draft pick Kawhi Leonard.

    Hillís two-way value is the major reason that has him ranked as highly as was. He was one of the most efficient players in the league and the Spursí best defensive weapon in the backcourt.

    He will get his big chance to become a key contributor and perhaps even a starter for the Pacers.

    The players the Spurs received in his trade ó Davis Bertans, Erazem Lorbek and Leonard ó are throwbacks to the way the Spurs used to play defense during their championship seasons. Their development will be critical in San Antonioís hopes of duplicating last seasonís regular-season success and improving on the disappointment of the early exit in the playoffs.

    Hill already has been ranked as a more valuable commodity than Indiana center Roy Hibbert, according to Heís also ahead of others like Tony Allen, Raymond Felton, Brandon Roy, O.J. Mayo, Ty Lawson, Mike Conley and Jrue Holiday who have already been placed behind him. Hill is listed only one place behind 2010 No. 1 draft pick John Wall at No. 72 and two behind aging but productive Denver point guard Andre Miller at No. 71.

    Hillís ability once earned him the moniker as ďGregg Popovichís favorite player.Ē But after the disappointment of the playoffs last season, the Spurs clearly need to go in a different direction.

    The players they received in the Hill trade will help in the transformation.

    But the Spurs are taking a chance. And Hillís value as one of the top guards in the NBA emphasizes that.

    Iím curious if Spurs Nation believes that Hillís ranking on SI.comís list is accurate.

    And do they believe that trading him for a collection of talented but unproven players like the Spurs received is a big gamble?

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