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NBA Rumors: Why the Los Angeles Lakers Need Grant Hill for a Championship Run

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IIJuly 14, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are tweaking their roster to set up a championship run, and Grant Hill will be a necessary piece of the puzzle. 

John Gambadoro, a radio host for Arizona Sports 620, reported on July 13 that Hill was being actively recruited by two of the Lakers’ leaders:

Hearing Grant Hill leaning towards Lakers after big push by Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant

— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 13, 2012

Nash has played with Hill in Phoenix for the last five seasons, and the two players have built a positive relationship both on and off the court. The two-time MVP was sent to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal earlier this month, and according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, he planned to bring “one of his closest friends in the game” along with him right from the start.

Adding Hill may cause concern because he will be making an old team even older, but he provides several essential qualities for the Lakers.

Hill, who is 39 years old, is the NBA’s second-oldest player. His age showed last season, in which he struggled with injuries and posted career-low numbers of 10.2 points and 3.5 rebounds.

But the swingman had the same platelet-enrichment procedure that Bryant made popular among professional athletes. If the treatment has the same effect it had on Bryant, Hill will be moving much better next season.

Hill has always been a fierce competitor, and his desire to win helped him become one the game’s biggest stars when he was younger. But injuries derailed his career, forcing Hill to reinvent himself as a role player. 

Suns forward Jared Dudley made the following statement, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic, which highlights all the little things Hill does on the court:

He's our glue guy. He calms us defensively. He's the best defensive player. He's the one who guarded Chris Paul at home and slowed him down. Offensively, he is efficient and gets out on the break and that makes other people guard him and open up 3-pointers. He posts up and makes the extra pass. 

Hill truly is the ultimate teammate. He fills his team’s gaps on the court while being a leader and a role model in the locker room.

He brings intensity, passion and professionalism during every practice and game. This makes him a player the Lakers desperately need. 

The team played with an alarming lack of urgency during times in its last two postseason runs. Besides Bryant, only Metta World Peace could be counted on to play with intensity and dogged determination during important games, and he has his own set of issues that contributes to inconsistency. 

But now Nash can be added to the list of players who can be counted on to perform every night for the Lakers.

If the team can add Hill, it will have another player like this. 

Hill’s defensive skills, efficiency, leadership and consistency are all qualities that will make him invaluable to Los Angeles as they try to win another title.

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