In a season of injuries and questions, Lakers forward Jordan Hill missed 50 games this season due to a torn labrum in his hip. Hill parlayed his strong playoff performance last season into a two-year contract with the Lakers last summer and was projected to be the first big man off the bench. However, in their January 6 contest with the Denver Nuggets, Hill injured his hip and was lost for most of the season.
Regular Season Grade: C+
It’s difficult to judge Hill’s regular season since he missed 50 games due to injury. For the season, he averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, but is beloved by Lakers fans for his hustle.
Nicknamed “Garbage Man”, Hill averaged 2.8 offensive rebounds and doesn’t need a play called for him in order to score. Hill’s injury was most frustrating for Lakers fan since the team didn’t have much front court depth and missed his presence on the glass.
Not only did Hill suffer from the torn labrum in his hip, but he dealt with back spasms as it felt like he was injured the entire season. After only seeing a small glimpse of what Hill can do for the Lakers in last year’s playoffs and only 32 games this season, Hill will be an integral part for the team moving forward.
Playoff Grade: A
The fact that Hill rehabbed hard during the regular season and made it back for the playoffs gives him the A in my book. With the Lakers ravaged by injuries, Hill played in three of the four games, but primarily saw the floor during garbage minutes.
His ability to get on the floor and back from a serious injury is credit to Hill and his part in being a true team player.
Overall Grade: B
It’s difficult to give Hill a proper grade as he spent most of the season in the training room and not on the court. Moving forward, with so many questions surrounding Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, Hill is the only stable frontcourt player.
Reserves Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark aren’t guaranteed to come back so Hill will again be counted on to be the first big man off the bench next season. He’s shown in his brief Laker career that he has a knack for getting the key rebound and has improved his jump shot considerably.
While the Lakers did play well without Hill, there’s no doubt they’re a much better team when he’s backing up Howard and injecting energy into the team. Hill is the prototypical player whose impact isn’t felt in the box score, but more in the final score.
It was a difficult season for Hill and all Laker big men this season, but there’s no doubt that he’ll work hard on his game in the offseason and come back even stronger next season.