Grant Hill to Clippers: Veteran Gives LA One of the NBA's Best Benches
The Los Angeles Clippers might not have been able to lay claim to the best starting five in Los Angeles, and they still can't, but the acquisition of Grant Hill does give them the best bench in the city and one of the best in the entire NBA.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the soon-to-be 40-year-old will be acquired either with the biannual exception or the sign-and-trade route.
Hill won't be inserted into the starting lineup, as Caron Butler has the small forward position under control for the starting five, but he will make a huge impact off the bench.
Despite his outlandish (for the NBA) age, Hill still has vast reserves of energy and athleticism. The ankle injuries that derailed his early days in the NBA might actually turn out to be blessings in disguises. Because he had to sit out so often, he doesn't have the same wear and tear as most 40-year-olds, and his knees and legs still have plenty of spring in them.
You won't get the same highlights as you used to witness when watching Hill, but he'll still throw down a few dunks and do plenty of good on the basketball court.
Hill's real value comes on defense and in the locker room, though. He's a terrific veteran presence on a team in need of maturity and experience.
Even though he's old, Hill is still a premier lock-down defender who consistently lines up against the other team's best player.
This past season, the small forward held opponents to a 12.6 PER when guarding his natural position, a sensational 8.8 PER when guarding shooting guards and an 11.1 PER against power forwards, according to 82games.com.
His addition gives the Clippers two effective forwards off the bench: Hill and fellow new acquisition Lamar Odom. Don't be fooled by Odom's last season with the Dallas Mavericks, a team he absolutely didn't want to play for.
How do the Los Angeles Clippers measure up?
In the backcourt, LA has similar depth following the additions of Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe. While the former is still a scoring stud capable of providing a nice infusion of points and energy off the bench, the latter is an up-and-coming guard who can become a tremendous perimeter defender as he matures.
The Clippers are attempting to take the next step as a franchise, and solidifying the bench is an easy way to make that an easier process.
So far this offseason, that's exactly what they've done.
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