Arizona Basketball: The Issues Standing Between Solomon Hill & NBA Success
Solomon Hill has been a solid four-year player for the Arizona Wildcats. He was All-Pac12 last year and should compete for POY this year. His play is key to the Wildcats competing for a Final Four bid, as well as any possibility of a national championship.
When thinking about the next level, Hill has a lot of question marks. Yet most of them can be overcome if he can turn one of his biggest weaknesses around.
Hill could make a solid NBA player at the small forward slot because of the skill set he brings.
He is a seasoned player who played for four years under one of the best in the coaching business, Sean Miller. He also has good basketball IQ and instincts, both offensively and defensively.
Hill has the strength to beat up other players at his position. To be 6’6’’ and finish second in the league in rebounding is a testament to his strength.
He is also a very focused and disciplined person. Knowing he needed to lose weight to compete at his natural position, he lost more than 20 pounds in the offseason. These characteristics are a boon to any NBA coach.
Hill, however, has weaknesses that will hurt his draft stock. He is between positions.
At 6’6’’, he isn’t big enough to play the power forward spot, but he also isn’t the elite athlete most NBA teams look for in a small forward.
Hill can also be passive at times. He lets the game pass him by, and to make an NBA roster, he will need to stand out consistently.
Adding to the negatives, Hill tends to turn the ball over more than he should. Most of these issues can either be changed (turnovers, passive play) or are outweighed by his strengths. The athlete/tween issue can be overcome by his good instincts, coach-ability and dedication to becoming a better player.
His biggest issue, and one that cannot be overcome by his strengths, is his mid-range shooting. Hill is a good spot up shooter. His three point percentage went from 22 percent in his freshman year to nearly 40 percent in his junior year. This season his is shooting nearly 55 percent.
However, Hill does not have a good mid-range shot and has serious trouble pulling up off the dribble.
Because of his size disadvantage, Hill must make this area of his game a priority during the year and before the draft.
If he can consistently hit a mid-range jumper, and a jumper off the dribble, the size disadvantage will be diminished. When he can fake and cause the defender to jump or stutter-step like he is going to pull-up and have the same result, he will score in the NBA.
It's like play-action on the basketball court. Solomon Hill needs the play-action fake.
As of now, Hill is a mid-second round pick next year. If his shooting progresses as it has for the last four years, he will be a value selection for the team who picks him up.
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