Solomon Hill should be a skilled and steady player in the NBA.
Solomon Hill was ranked number 79 on our Big Board— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 28, 2013
But that doesn't mean Hill isn't a good player—quite the opposite, actually.
In an era where NBA scouts look for athleticism and upside as perhaps the biggest factors in examining a player, it makes sense that Hill's pre-draft stock was not very high. Hill doesn't get his head level with the rim on dunks or blow by defenders with his first step, but he can play the game. Forgive the hyberbole, but Tim Duncan wasn't very athletic at all when he came into the league, and look where that got him.
Let's look at Hill's measurables, strengths and weaknesses and how he will fit in with the Pacers.
According to NBA.com, Solomon Hill measured 6'7" in shoes at the pre-draft combine, with a sturdy 226-pound frame. With that size, he projects as a small forward for the Pacers, the position he played during his senior year at Arizona.
Hill's wingspan is a mediocre 6'9", but his hand width was measured at 10.5 inches, which was the sixth-best measurement at the combine. This should allow him to finish well and palm the ball to protect it.
Hill also answered some doubts of him at the combine. According to NBADraft.net, Hill is "exposed moving side to side." However, he clocked a time of 10.77 in the lane agility drill, beating out guards such as Isaiah Canaan, Dennis Schroeder, Glen Rice Jr. and CJ McCollum.
He also jumped 37.5 inches in the maximum vertical leap drill, which was one of the better jumps, answering some questions about his explosiveness.
First and foremost, Hill is a competitor. In his introductory press conference, one of the reporters brought up his reputation as being "tough as nails."
NBA reporter Alex Kennedy had this to say about Hill after the combine:
But Hill is also supremely skilled, especially in shooting, passing and rebounding the ball.
The following quote is from Hill's DraftExpress profile:
"Hill's set shot has become his most prominent weapon on the offensive end and a significant part of his value proposition from a NBA perspective."
Hill shot 39 percent from downtown in his senior season at Arizona, and just under 46 percent overall.
His 2.7 assists were also a solid total for a forward at the college level, and had more to do with his basketball IQ and court vision than his quickness and ball-handling ability.
Hill is not a fantastic rebounder, but shows "a willingness to box out and scrap for loose balls in the paint," per DraftExpress.
Well, there's the mediocre athleticism, which puts a definite ceiling on his NBA potential.
Hill also doesn't always do the little plays defensively. From Draft Express: "Defensively, Hill does a good job helping his teammates and playing within Arizona's team concept, but struggles to deny dribble penetration and close out shooters effectively."
Playing power forward during a big portion of his college career, Hill may not be totally accustomed to playing on the wing yet, especially at the NBA level. Although his set shooting is NBA wing caliber, his ball-handling is nothing special.
According to NBADraft.net, his pull-up jumper off the dribble is "nonexistent."
How Will He Fit With the Pacers
Solomon Hill will not be a star. That said, his weaknesses are not so great that he can't be a solid role player right from the get-go.
Which of these words will describe Solomon Hill the best during his Pacers tenure?
And with his work ethic, I see no reason why Hill won't be able to be a starter in this league some day. In his press conference, Hill vowed to "live in the gym," now that he is free from college classes.
This past year, Sam Young and Gerald Green played backup small forward for the Pacers. That just isn't going to cut it. Young has no offensive game, and the only thing Green has going for him is freakish vertical leap.
Hill could be a savior as the Pacers' second-string small forward this season. If Danny Granger comes back to the Pacers next year, Paul George could be pushed to the shooting guard position. Hill will be able to play backup minutes behind Granger, who will likely need someone solid like Hill to spell him coming off a serious injury.
Realistic expectations for the NBA-ready Hill in his rookie year might be six or seven points and four rebounds per game in about 15 to 20 minutes of action.
Which, for the 23rd pick, is not bad. Not bad at all.