Jordan Hill was one of the bigger surprises of the 2008-2009 season. He was lightly recruited coming out of the Patterson School in NC, and did not really look like a guy that could be a top five pick during his first two seasons in Tucson. But as a junior, Hill emerged as one of the most productive big men in the country, averaging a double-double.
Some of the biggest reasons for Hill's success are his athleticism and his tools. He is a legit 6'10" with long arms, big hands, and an explosive leaping ability (see the dunks in the highlight clips below). He is an exceptional finisher at the rim as a result.
The problem? That is about all he is offensively. His back to the basket game is very raw (anyone that saw him struggle to establish position and score on the 6'6" front line of Cleveland State in the tourney can attest), and he got the majority of his points off of put-backs and cutting to the rim (he does operate well off a pick and roll).
He is robotic, in a sense, when making a post move—instead of reading what the defense is giving him, he seems to make up his mind as to what move he wants to make before he gets the ball.
Hill is far from an efficient scorer. As a post, he shoots just 54 percent from the field and only got to the line 5.3 times per game.
This should be worrisome for NBA coaches, as it signals Hill's lack of offensive development (but not a lack of aggression—Hill had a lot of trouble with fouls this year, especially offensive). It is going to take some time before Hill becomes much more than a dunker and rebounder.
He tends to have the same sort of problem defensively. One-on-one, he is a solid defender on the block simply because he is an athlete (although he was hidden a bit thanks to Zona's 2-3). But he tends to run into trouble when he has to come over and help. With his size and length, one would assume his shot blocking numbers would have been higher.
But that is part of what makes Hill an attractive prospect. While his skill set right now does not project to be a game-changing presence (he is more of an energy guy right now), he is still young in a basketball sense, having started playing the game very late.
While his basketball IQ is none too impressive right now, that kind of thing could develop over time as he gets more and more experience and coaching. Remember, this kid developed into an all-american while he endured three different coaches and the Lute Olson soap opera at Arizona.
Best case: A combination of Chris Wilcox (scoring) and David Lee (rebounding); Worst case: Nene Hilario, Ronny Turiaf.
Outside of Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio, there may not be a guy that makes an all-star team from this draft class. While Hill's development at Arizona combined with his tools makes him an attractive prospect and could land him in the top five, he may never be more than an energy guy and role player (although, I can see him averaging 12 and 10 at some point).
Stats: 18.4 ppg, 11.0 rpg (4.2 off), 1.7 bpg, 53.7 FG percentage, 65.4 FT percentage
Listed Size: 6'10", 235 lb, 7/27/87 (21 years old)
Photo credit: Zimbio
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