SaSleepless likened George Hill's performance to that of Tony Parker during his early years. It had me thinking whether our back-up point guard's first (almost) two years in the league really compares favorably to that of our current starter. Let's use our bat senses and take a look.
Stats, from http://www.basketball-reference.com.
First YearRookie Season Highs:
TP - 22 points (24 in the Playoffs), 10 assists (9), 10 rebs (5), 5 stls (2), 5 TOs (4)
GH - 23 points (9 in the Playoffs), 8 assists (2), 11 rebs (4), 4 stls (2), 4 TOs (2)
Per 36 minutes, Rookie Season:
TP - 11.2 pts, 5.3 ast, 3.1 rebs, 1.4 stl, 2.4 TO
GH - 12.4 pts, 3.6 ast, 4.5 rebs, 1.3 stl, 2.1 TO
This shows us that Tony Parker and George Hill's rookie seasons were almost identical. Of course, if we used averages, Tony would eat George's lunchbox (yes, lunchbox). But we all know this is skewed, since Parker played 29 and 34 minutes during his first and second years in the league, while Hill was only managed 16 and 20, respectively (Why, Pop? Why?). In the playoffs, we know Pop almost didn't play George, but relented and ended up using the rookie guard 19 minutes per game, in four games. In comparison, a rookie Tony Parker played 34 minutes per game in his first playoffs.
In the regular season, Hill was a slightly better scorer and rebounder. Parker, on the other hand, was a whole lot better in passing. Some George Hill
worshippers fans would point out (I love puns) that George was a shooting guard in college instead of the 1 Pop wants him to play.
Hill also appears to be the more consistent rookie, scoring-wise. Parker scored just 2 or 3 points in eight games where he played at least 20 minutes. Hill only, um, accomplished that 3 times. Sure, Tony had more opportunities to suck because he played 20 minutes or more most of the time (72 of 77 games played), while George rarely cracked twenty (14 of 77 GP). Still, if you're given at least twenty minutes most of the time, you should get into a good enough rhythm and should be afforded plenty enough opportunities to score more than 2 or 3 points. You shoot the ball once, that's two (or three) points. You get fouled while driving to the basket, that's at least one more point. Now do both (or either) again, and that's more than 2 or 3 points.
Parker shows to be the more consistent passer as a rookie though. The numbers are the opposite of scoring. In games where he played over 20 minutes, Tony had 0 or 1 assist in only 3 games. George did it eight times. Again, for an NBA guard, it shouldn't be too difficult to tally more than 1 assist. Here's the secret to doing it: Look for an open teammate. Pass him the ball. Pray that he makes the shot. Now, do it again, and that's more than 1 assist in a game.
Forgive me for the chop. And for the left alignment.
Second YearSophomore Season Highs:
TP - 32 points (29), 13 assists (6), 8 rebs (8), 4 stls (3), 6 TOs (6)
GH - 15 points, 4 assists, 5 rebs, 2 stls, 2 TOs
Per 36 minutes, Sophomore Season:
TP - 16.5 pts, 5.6 ast, 2.8 rebs, 0.9 stl, 2.6 TO
GH - 19.2 pts, 3.0 ast, 5.4 rebs, 2.4 stl, 2.4 TO
Yes, Hill has only been a few (three) games into his second season, but since SaSleepless brought it up, I still looked at their numbers during their second year. As a sophomore, Hill still figures to be a better scorer, but looking at his season high, one can say that Tony was more explosive. Hill is a way better rebounder, but TP was a way better passer. Hill also plays the passing lanes better than his practice nemesis.
In their second seasons, Hill still looks like the more consistent scorer. In the three games he played this season, George scores 9, 8, and 15 points. He played more than twenty minutes in the first and second games. Incidentally, in the second game, he played less than twenty, and the Spurs lost. Hear that, Pop?
Unfortunately, in that one game that Hill played only 17 minutes, he also had 0 assists. Only once did Parker have 0 assists in his sophomore season--and that was in the playoffs, not the regular season, which we are comparing.
SaSleepless was right. Tony and George are quite similar stat-wise during their first two years in the league, which only means one thing: Pop hates the French. Otherwise, why be tough on Frenchie yet loving to the IUPUI-ie?
Interestingly, comparing their first two years, George Hill seems to have out-Parkered Tony in his forte, scoring. And surprisingly, young Tony was better than his back-up is now when it comes to assists--which many people claim is the Frenchman's weakness.
Yes, we need our point guards to score. But primarily, we need them to handle the rock and dish it out to open teammates. George Hill is a slightly better scorer than first-to-second-year Tony Parker, but he still doesn't do one of his primary responsibilities--passing--as well as his counterpart did. Sure, Parker still turns out to be the better point guard. But heck. Just to be at the point where we're comparing our reserve PG to a player who would turn out to be an All-Star is very encouraging. And Hill's numbers aren't just similar to Tony's when he was new, George actually does compare favorably to Parker. And that is just...wow.
Maybe that Gregg Popovich does know what he's talking about.