George Hill became the undisputed starting point guard of the Indiana Pacers after a trade that sent Darren Collison to the Dallas Mavericks. Before then, Hill shared ball-handling duties with Collison, originally off the bench and eventually in the starting lineup. Is he the point guard that the Pacers need to contend for a title?
I have long been a fan of Hill, an undersized shooting guard with developing point guard skills. With the San Antonio Spurs, he was the primary backup to Tony Parker. A trade to the Pacers allowed Hill to play in front of his hometown fans.
One of the Pacers’ ails was point guard play. Collison was a steady player, but the question remains if he was a true fit for the team.
Hill brings a different element. Already regarded as a good defender, his shot has improved but his court vision will be under the microscope. The Pacers were next to last in assists last season, and he must help them improve in that area.
Of the teams that made the playoffs, only the Oklahoma City Thunder averaged fewer assists per game. Their advantage is having two dynamic individual players (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) on their roster. They are both great isolation players, but the Pacers do not have that luxury. They have to score their points by using ball movement and post play.
Roy Hibbert will not take his man off the dribble. Who will get him the basketball? Danny Granger is a good isolation player, but when he spots up for jumpers, someone has to find him with the ball. The same goes for David West.
The Pacers need a table-setter on offense, someone who can direct the team and get into scoring position.
Simply put, the point guard position is the most vital spot on the team.
Hill is now the undisputed floor general. He has to continue to improve his game, but is he the answer at the position?
Time will tell, but after re-signing with the team to the sum of $40 million over five years, he has to be.