I kept my eye on him for the Knicks' second Summer League game on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks got destroyed 96-73 with Hill putting up 14 points and 5 rebounds in 28 minutes.
David Thorpe tweeted this during the game, "I think Jordan Hill is going to be a beast for this team. I'm not sure I'd like in, let's say, Portland. But I see him flying around MSG."
Kevin Arnovitz said, "Jordan Hill is at his strongest when he's facing up to the basket, but too often he rushes himself when he has the ball in the post. Several times on Wednesday, he lost track of where he was on the block, then flung an off-balanced shot up from close range. Hill also seemed a little passive as a post defender, even against the likes of Trent Plaisted. Hill stayed in close proximity on defense to his assigned man, but rarely tried to knock his guy off his spot. In general, the closer Hill was to the basket, the less comfortable he was."
As for me, I was thoroughly unimpressed. I don't know that I like any other high draft pick less.
Let me throw a little data at you
- 6' 10", 235 pounds, 21 years old
- 6' 10", 230 pounds, 22 years old
- 6' 8", 240 pounds, 21 years old
These are the numbers for the three rookie forwards playing in this game. One was the 8th pick in the draft, the other two were the 35th and 39th picks in the draft. The two second-rounders were FAR better in this game. You can read my opinions of Jerebko and Summers. In this game, the dynamic duo from Detroit ran circles around the higher pick Hill.
The Upside of the Hill
Jordan Hill did show a couple good things. He has a decent mid-range shot and he isn't afraid to use it. I would say that 8 or 9 of his 14 attempts were mid-range shots. Almost all of his makes were from outside as well. I'd guess he shot about 5 for 8 from the perimeter. He also showed the ability to create space for his outside shot by putting the ball on the floor with his left hand and stepping back into his shot
On one possession he ended up covering Austin Daye -- who has been awesome this week -- and did a good job of moving his feet and staying with him.
He showed an ability to be the pick man in the pick and roll. He set a couple decent picks and rolled nicely once to the rim. That, combined with his mid-range game, has some promise.
That's about it for the good.
The Downside of the Hill
I thought his basketball awareness was unfathomly awful. Let me explain what I mean be this. On several occasions, he didn't seem to know where the basketball was. Most of these were on shots on the offensive end. For instance, when one of his teammates would take a shot, he would put his head down and look for an open spot on the floor to get to for a rebound. He shot would hit the rim and the other team would have the ball, THEN Hill would look up and see that the action was starting the other way. This caused him to trail on several plays. For me, this shows a lack of natural instincts for the game and is not something you can really learn.
His overall game in the blocks was poor. Offensively, he was only comfortable stepping back and shooting jumpers. He looked very poor trying to go to the rim with his dribble. The only time he was successful was when he was matched up with Trent Plaisted. He could do nothing with Jerebko. Defensively, he didn't show much either. He never helped on drives. He fell for a Jerebko pump fake and Jonas blew past him and got the foul. When a shot went up he never found a man to box out, he just drifted into the paint. Like most rookies, he doesn't work early enough in the possession and gets fouls reaching to make up.
Probably the most disturbing thing I saw was a lack of athleticism. He doesn't seem explosive and he struck me as very stiff. Some guys, when you watch them, just move well and show great body control. I didn't get any of that from Hill. At no time did he blow by his guy, even while being covered by Plaisted. After watching him -- admittedly for only one game, I don't know what people saw in him to make him a #8 pick. It's early and all, but he looks like he's a LONG way from being ready.
Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni know a hell of a lot more about basketball than I do, so I would defer to them. However, I did have a scout ask me what I thought of Hill. When I told him, he said he didn't think I was that off in my assessment.