George Hill has been in the been in the league for 11 seasons, played in an NBA finals, and played in three different conference finals. He’s the definition of a gritty veteran and has been an invaluable asset for the Bucks this year. Today is George Hill’s 33rd birthday, so how does the “old” man continue to do it?
The dialogue around the George Hill trade centered around the cap ramifications of the deal, which don’t get me wrong are huge, but that dialogue missed out on just how good George Hill is. We are talking about a guy who started 18 playoff games last season coming off the Bucks’ bench. Quantity might not seem like the biggest testament of skill at first glance, but Andre Drummond has only started 8 playoff games in his entire career. Hill started 7 conference finals games last season!
George Hill was acquired for Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson, two players that projected to help the Bucks very little for the rest of this season. Henson having surgery that would render him unable to play and Dellavedova being locked out of the rotation. Hill on the other hand immediately became the Bucks best bench guard, and one of the best bench guards in the entire league.
For Hill, it all starts on the defensive end of the ball, where he is able to hound the other teams starting point guard as soon as Bledsoe exits. George Hill is credited with a 6’9” wingspan and it shows on defense, of rotation players only Eric Bledsoe has a higher steal rate than Hill. He is able to challenge smaller guards effectively, with his wingspan recovering onto shooters in the Bucks system is a breeze.
His offensive game is certainly not lacking either as he sports the lowest turnover rate in the playoffs, which gives him nearly a 4-1 assist to turnover ratio. He has a true shooting percentage of 64% thus far in the playoffs which is about 10% higher than the league average. He has been able to steady the Bucks through some Eric Bledsoe dry spells in the playoffs. Perhaps playoff experience matters here, Bledsoe has played 701 playoff minutes to 3500+ for Hill. Hill is a more adept shooter and has been able to make a killing with some clutch hustle plays when the Bucks need it most. This is a perk of being the backup guard versus the starter, Bledsoe is a focus of the scouting report, Hill is more of an afterthought.
The Bucks have been insanely good with George Hill on in the playoffs, they are outscoring the opposition by 26 points per 100 possessions with Hill on the court. They are 21.9 points per 100 better with him on the court than when he is off the court. He has been a huge asset for them, and is a major reason they are up 2-1 on the Celtics. Those on-off numbers are likely unsustainably high, but are still a symbol of how good they have been with him on. It remains to be seen where Hill will be next year, with a good playoff run he could be line for a lot of money, that the Bucks might not be able to swing. We do know one thing for sure, Playoff George Hill is a force to be reckoned with and has given the Bucks 6MOY type play off the bench.