When Will Indiana Pacers Find a Role for Solomon Hill?

Joe TacosikCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 29: Solomon Hill #9 of the Indiana Pacers controls the ball against the Washington Wizards at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 29, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Hoskins/Getty Images

When the Indiana Pacers selected forward Solomon Hill out of the University of Arizona with their 23rd overall, first-round selection in the 2013 NBA draft, many fans scratched their heads.

And now, approaching the halfway point of the regular season, whether or not Hill can become a prominent role player becomes more and more doubted.

In Hill's 16 total games played, he hasn't exactly been the epitome of efficiency off the bench. Couple that with the return and gradual improvement of forward Danny Granger, and Hill's chance of seeing minutes in the tight rotation are slim to none.

In an effort to help develop Hill's game, the Pacers demoted Hill to the D-League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants on December 29 for what ended up being a two-game stint. In those two games, Hill averaged 19 points and 3.5 rebounds for Fort Wayne. His highlights could be found online, courtesy of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and The Indianapolis Star's Candace Buckner.

Now, after returning to the team, one can only wonder if there's any chance that Hill can find his way into the rotation yet this season despite Indiana's recent success with the bench.

There is a quick answer to that question—no.

Just compare the stats between Hill and Granger, or even veteran Rasual Butler, and it's clear that Hill would really have to impress in order to get onto the floor.

Indiana Pacers Reserve Forwards Comparison
PlayerGames PlayedPointsReboundsAssistsMinutes
Danny Granger129.13.61.323.2
Rasual Butler202.
Solomon Hill161.
Stats via ESPN.com

Even if Granger were to be traded by the team before the trade deadline, Hill would most likely still struggle to see the floor. If Indy chooses to trade Granger, obviously it will do so with the intention of receiving a solid bench scorer in return for the expiring contract. Should that happen, there will still be someone on the depth chart in front of Hill.

So what does this mean for Hill moving forward? It doesn't necessarily mean he's worthless to this team. Hill is a big 6'7" forward who could provide some length and athleticism should someone go down in the back half of the season.

Looking past this season, unless Granger is willing to accept a lesser-money deal, Hill will have an opportunity to prove he can be a second-unit man with Indiana. But as for now, in this season, with the rotation Indiana has right now, Hill's chance is slim to none, barring injury.