After getting dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Derek Fisher trade with the Houston Rockets, Jordan Hill was instantly put under a microscope. With all Lakers fans around the country in shock after seeing Fisher moved before the NBA trade deadline, Hill wasn’t exactly the most liked player in L.A. with most Lakers fans having no idea who he was or what he could do on the basketball floor.
Fortunately, despite getting little playing time since being dealt on March 15, Lakers head coach Mike Brown recently called upon the young forward/center to get ready. The phone call by Coach Brown came at 2 a.m. on Saturday with the intention to let Hill know that he was about to get his chance to showcase his ability against one of the best teams in the league in Oklahoma City Thunder.
After it became apparent to Coach Brown that Andrew Bynum just wasn’t playing to the best of his ability against the Thunder Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center, the new Lakers head coach pointed in the direction of the recently acquired big man to get in the game. This surprised quite a few people with this game being as important as it was for the Lakers, but it was a brilliant move to say the least.
Once on the floor and motivated, Hill just blew up with numbers that didn’t seem possible from the third-year man out of Arizona. With Bynum benched, Hill ripped 15 rebounds and scored 14 points to help the Lakers beat the Thunder in double overtime, 114-106.
This performance was just as impressive as it was unexpected. With no one anticipating much of anything out of Hill, the big man really name for himself at just the right time with the playoffs looming.
Hill talked about the frustration of coming to L.A. and not getting the time on the floor, but eventually getting the chance to prove his worth via Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
“It was definitely frustrating coming from Houston and playing there, doing a good job there, and then coming here and not get my opportunity,” said Hill, who was the eighth pick in the 2009 draft. “When my time came and they needed me out there, I went out there and did what I had to do.”
Now that Lakers Coach Mike Brown has liked what he has seen from Jordan Hill, the consensus is that Hill will get much more time in the last regular season against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night and throughout the NBA playoffs. This will make the Lakers that much more intimidating in the frontcourt from here on out as they have another big body that have been missing ever since the departure of Lamar Odom.
It’ll be up to Hill to continue to play well from here on out as his future with the Lakers depends on it with him becoming a free agent this summer.