Jordan Hill is one of the best players the Los Angeles Lakers have off the bench, but he has not been getting a lot of minutes as of late. When Mike Brown was running the Lakers’ sidelines, Hill was a major contributor off the bench, but now that Mike D’Antoni is the coach, Hill has been noticeably absent.
In last night’s loss to the Orlando Magic, Hill did not play a single minute and that is coming off his three minutes of play in the Lakers’ rout of the Denver Nuggets. However, this isn’t the first time Hill has been buried on the bench by D’Antoni. Hill was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2009 and in his short tenure with the team, he did not see a lot of playing time.
Hill ended up getting traded by the Knicks in his rookie season and he spoke to the New York Post in 2010 about the changes he saw after getting traded to the Houston Rockets.
“Coach D’Antoni, he relies on his veterans more than rookies,” Hill told the Houston Chronicle. “He feels like his rookies need to learn more their first year so they could get everything down pat. I understood. I just wanted to wait patiently until my time was coming.”
“My chance was here [in Houston] and I’m making the best of it,” Hill said. “Fans there [in New York], they know what I can do. I just didn’t have the opportunity to show it.”
While with the Knicks, Hill averaged only 10.5 minutes per game whereas he was on the court for an average of 16.2 minutes with the Rockets. Hill may not be a starting center for a team during his NBA career, but he has been a reliable defender and rebounder for every team he has played for.
The Lakers used Hill quite often in the later stages of last season, especially during the postseason. However, D’Antoni still does not seem to have trust in his back-up big man. Hill said that D’Antoni favors veterans over rookies, but Hill is now in his third season and D’Antoni still keeps him on the bench.
Last night D’Antoni mentioned that it was the system influencing his decision to keep Hill on the bench. D’Antoni is known as a run-and-gun coach and Hill isn’t much of an offensive player, and certainly isn’t a lethal mid-range shooter. Still, in a game like Sunday night’s with the Magic, where the Lakers are severely lacking energy it would make sense to put a player like Hill, who is known for his intensity, on the court.