Grant Hill: 5 Contenders He Could Help Make Champions
Grant Hill has expressed how even though he is 38 and a free agent, he wants to play again once the lockout is over. This could end up being a huge factor for a contender next May and June, or whenever the NBA season is back.
Hill has played exceptionally well in his time in Phoenix, and while he has enjoyed his time in the desert and the franchise would most likely love him to come back, it is time for him to move on to a contender. Hill should become a relatively hot free agent this offseason for a variety of reasons.
He is a solid role player that can fill a variety of different roles for a contender. He can use his athletic ability to get out on fast breaks and fill the lanes, or he can be a quality defender and guard the other team's best player. His versatility and durability is what sets him apart from most free agents on the market.
While all the skills and versatility Grant Hill brings to the floor are great, perhaps his greatest contribution to a contender would be the intangibles he brings with him. He is the consummate professional and could play a key role in helping younger players develop into their own in a mature manner. He also is not worried about his role with the team. He is a veteran who simply wants to win. His role with the Suns would change from night to night depending on who the opponent was and what the team needed him to do. He never complained about this and just showed up and did his job. He was there to put up Ws, not compile statistics.
But to a franchise looking to bring him in, the most intriguing aspect of Grant Hill is that he would add all this to your team for cheap. The last few years with the Suns, Hill has played for the veteran minimum. He feels he has earned enough money in his career with previous giant contracts and endorsements that he does not want hold back teams from building with other pieces in addition to himself.
This is a list of the top 5 contenders in the league that need to make a play to get Hill on their roster next year.
5. Boston Celtics
Although the Celtics are already set at the wing positions with the likes of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, I think adding Hill would bring them better depth. Pierce and Allen are not getting any younger, so bringing in a backup who could play either position would be great for them. It would mean less minutes would be required of both the starters and could potentially leave them a bit more fresh for the playoffs. It would also provide the Celtics one last push towards a championship with this group of future Hall of Famers.
He is an easy personality to get along with, so he would not rock the boat by coming aboard a team with so many pieces set in place. He would only add to what the team is trying to accomplish.
4. Miami Heat
The reason Hill would work with the Heat is the same reason as I stated with the Celtics. He would add some reliable depth behind James and Wade that would give them more rest. It would also add another talented wing defender so that the Big 2 were not always guarding the opponent’s best player while also being totally responsible on the offensive end.
There was talk in the NBA Finals last year that James, and even Wade but to a lesser extent, had lost their legs and played too many minutes. Bringing in someone like Hill would mean that they would not carry the same responsibility and be fresh later in the year.
Ideally, Hill could also play the point-forward position at times since the Heat did not always get strong play from their points last season.
This team could use another solid veteran influence on it. Hill could could fill this role while being able to produce for them, which is something they lacked last season. He would be someone whom James could look at as a role model on how to handle himself better on and off the court. Someone like Hill could make a world of difference for this team.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Grant Hill playing in a Lakers uniform would make just about every Suns fan sick to their stomach. Even though Hill heading to Los Angeles would make an old team even older, I believe he could step in and play in Ron Artest’s spot and be much more effective. Artest’s game took a huge step backwards last season, and Hill might be a better defender at this point in their careers. Mike Brown is the new Lakers coach whenever the season begins. His coaching style places more emphasis on defense and could use as many solid defenders as he can get.
Having Hill in the Lakers lineup would also take some of the pressure off of Kobe. Hill is a durable wing player who, on nights that it is asked of him, can play a very aggressive game offensively. With the Lakers it is not about the regular season, it is about getting solid players in uniform who can contribute when it matters in the playoffs. This would be a perfect fit for both parties.
2. Chicago Bulls
Going forward, Chicago is in a tough spot financially. They do not have much money to bring in quality players to put them over the hump. Because of that, making a move to bring in Hill might make more sense for them than any other team on this list. Not only would bringing in Hill be adding a quality player for next to nothing, it would fill a serious void in their lineup.
The Bulls’ worst starter last season was, without a doubt, Keith Bogans. Bogans' backup was usually Kyle Korver, who would be a defensive liability if he was trying to lock up my grandmother. He is terrible on that side of the ball. Bringing Hill in could send defensive specialist Bogans to the bench as a backup (as he should be) and would put Korver into a more specialized role. This type of rotation could make both these players more effective in roles they are a better fit for. Bringing in another quality ball handler could also give Derrick Rose some more off-the-ball opportunities, which is something that may make him even more effective on the offensive end.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
This is my personal favorite destination for Grant Hill to end up. I feel that if you were to throw him onto a team with Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook, he can only help them both develop. Hill could be a great influence on both of these rising stars and fill a void in their lineup where Thabo Sefolosha starts. Hill could either start or come off the bench, depending on whether Scott Brooks decides to keep James Harden as the sixth man or not. Either way, he brings the defensive intensity that this squad needs, along with the offensive skills, to contribute and keep the defense honest.
To go along with what seems to be a running theme with this article, I think the biggest impact that Hill could have on this team is his ability to play the point-forward spot and the intangibles he would bring to the table.
By Hill playing the point he would give Westbrook more opportunities to play more off the ball, which would definitely benefit his style of play. It would no longer be solely up to him to make plays for others, which is not his strength in the first place. Also, with this team being such a young squad, bringing in a veteran who could help these players develop, while also being able to contribute, would be outstanding for them. Last season, the weakness of this team was their maturity and mental toughness in the playoffs. If you don’t think a respected veteran like Hill would help in both of these areas, then you are just kidding yourself.