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Spurs 50 for 50, Number 31: George Hill

The countdown continues with a fan favorite whose shocking departure extended the dynasty.

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

This year the Spurs are celebrating their 50th season in San Antonio. There have been many highs and a few lows. One trademark of the San Antonio Spurs has been their culture and consistency. The keys to those qualities lie in their players. Always noted for development as well as being ahead of the curve on scouting international players, the Spurs way has made them one of the most successful organizations of all time. As we look back on the Silver and Black, we recognize the top 50 players in franchise history. Each day, we will move up the countdown.

31 - George Hill

The San Antonio Spurs unearthed several hidden gems via the NBA Draft during the Tim Duncan era, with unheralded prospects like Kyle Anderson and Tiago Splitter becoming household names in the 2-1-0. Though those spent several seasons in Silver and Black, none played a more substantial role in bringing a fifth title to Alamo City than George Hill.

PATFO selected the spindly point guard with the 26th overall pick in 2008, and the former IUPUI standout quickly earned minutes off the bench with his defensive intensity. A backup role turned into a starting gig when Tony Parker landed on the injury report, a temporary promotion that helped him build confidence as he eventually returned to the bench.

Within three seasons, Hill established himself as one of the best second-stringers in the league, a fan favorite, and a player beloved by head coach Gregg Popovich. While he was paramount to a 61-win season, Spurs brass sent him to the Pacers for the draft rights to Kawhi Leonard, a move some analysts panned as shortsighted in the immediate aftermath.

As we all soon learned, that high-risk, high-reward trade was perhaps the best decision in franchise history. Despite how the unsettling divorce from Kawhi Leonard made you feel, he was critical to bringing home a fifth title to San Antonio. And that wouldn’t have been possible without George Hill outperforming expectations during his stint with the Spurs.

Next up: A longtime interstate rival becomes an integral piece of a championship team.

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