Grant Hill: Is the Newest Los Angeles Clipper a Hall of Famer?

John HugarContributor IIIJuly 30, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 12:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at US Airways Center on March 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 127-124.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In The Book Of Basketball, the epic history of the game that Bill Simmons released in 2009, he discusses something called the Comets Section. This would be a wing of the Hall of Fame dedicated to players who had all the talent to make it in, but for one reason or another, didn't have the longevity.

One of the players mentioned in this section is Grant Hill, who tore up the league in the mid to late 90s, before suffering a brutal string of injuries that cost him several years of his prime. At the time, the inclusion of Hill in this list made sense. He had only six quality years, and his time as a legitimate starter on the Suns hadn't been enough to make up for all the time that was lost.

Then, something funny happened: Grant Hill just kept going.

Last year, at the age of 39, Hill put up another solid if unspectacular season, helping the Suns immensely with his solid perimeter defense. Very few players are still in the league at 39, and the ones who are tend to be all but useless. The fact that Hill was able to be a quality starter at this age is nothing short of astonishing, especially considering how fragile he had been in years past.

Amazingly, Hill still isn't done. This offseason, he left the Suns to join the Clippers, trying one last time to earn a ring before finally retiring. While Hill might have a reduced role on the Clippers, he will once again be a solid contributor. The most likely outcome is that he will come off the bench for Caron Butler, and add some experience to the Clippers' second unit. Hill's numbers will likely drop off a little, but if he can put up seven or eight points a game and play his usual tight defense, his presence will help the Clippers a lot.

After grinding it out as long as he has, Hill has more than made up for lost time. Maybe he'll never get those years of prime talent back, but being a valuable player for this long is an accomplishment in its own right, and when Hill retires, he will have an earned a spot in the Hall of Fame. At this point, it's pretty obvious that had he stayed healthy, he would've put together several more great seasons and would probably be remembered as one of the 25 or so greatest players of all-time.

As it stands, he still has a very impressive career, making seven all-star teams, and being named to five straight all-NBA teams from 1996 to 2000. He could have faded away when hard times hit, but he remained resilient and forged a solid second act as a starter on several quality Suns teams, helping them immensely with his tight D. Grant Hill didn't have an ideal career, but he made the best of the opportunities he was given, and for that, he deserves to be honored with a spot in Springfield.