It appears that one of the NBA's elder statesmen has a new team. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the soon-to-be 40-year-old Grant Hill has agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers at the $1.9 million biannual exception. Hill spent the last five seasons with the Phoenix Suns and averaged 10.2 points per game in 2012.
At this point, it appears that Hill will be the backup small forward to starter Caron Butler, which is just what the young Clippers need. Despite his age, Hill is still more than reliable both as a scorer and a defender. His scoring average last year was his career worst, which is pretty incredible given how he has been in the league since 1994.
On top of that, Hill is going to serve as a great mentor to younger players on the Clippers like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and maybe even Travis Leslie. He is one of the best players not to win a ring and with a leader to help complement Chris Paul, the possibilities could be endless for Los Angeles come playoff time.
Look at it this way. The Clippers were the No. 5 seed in the ultra-competitive Western Conference last season, which was better than anyone probably expected of them. The dunk-happy squad known as Lob City faced the ever-improving Memphis Grizzlies in the first round and lost in the deciding seventh game, but made a great overall effort throughout the series.
The way I see it, the entire team will use last year as a learning experience, and Hill will help them keep their focus forwards. I've noticed that \many young teams tend to dwell on past shortcomings. With a tested veteran in Hill providing positive energy on the court, to the bench and in the locker room, the Clippers will turn into a team that can make a lot of noise during the upcoming regular season and next year's playoffs. The re-signing of Chauncey Billups and additions of Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford are just added bonuses.
Long story short, with all of the other new players doing what they do best with Hill providing some great leadership on the court, the Clippers could very well overtake the Lakers as the kings of LA. Hill's versatility gives them a solid option off the bench both in scoring and defense. Most important of all, Hill can still be a good playmaker despite his age.
Come playoff time, don't be surprised if the Clippers slowly become the hottest team.
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