George Hill came to the Bucks as part of a trade that allowed the Bucks to get Mathew Dellavedova’s and John Henson’s contracts off their books for their crucial 2019 offseason. Hill came to the Bucks as their third guard behind Bledsoe and Brogdon. This was a role Hill was not used to filling and that showed in his regular season performance, but after an injury to Brogdon, Hill took advantage of the opportunity and played a crucial role for the Bucks in the playoffs.
Highlights: Taking Over for Malcolm Brogdon
George Hill played most of the season as a back-up point guard who could come in and spread the floor, play team defense, and take care of the basketball. When Brogdon was injured, Hill’s minutes per game went from 20.4 to 26.3. With an increased role he did not disappoint. In the playoffs he increased his 3 point percentage from 28% to 41%. This was HUGE for a Bucks team trying to open a clogged lane of defenders trying anything and everything to stop Giannis from dominating the paint. The Celtics and Raptors both put multiple defenders in the paint, creating the “Great Wall of Giannis” and usually kept a defender out on their best shooter on the court (usually Khris Middleton). The increased shooting percentage could be due to the different style of defense teams were playing on the Bucks, but Hill made them stay honest on defense knowing he was hitting his threes. This pictures shows exactly how the Raptors limited Giannis’ impact.
George Hill served as a playoff and finals experienced veteran for a young team who went past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Hill had his best game of the season during game 3 against the Raptors. He scored 24 points, and hit clutch shots to push the game into the first of two overtimes. Unfortunately, we all know how that ended for the Bucks that game and eventually that series. George Hill worked hard this postseason to change his status from a downward spiraling veteran to a player who can contribute solid and sometimes crucial minutes for a contender.
Lowlights: Lowest Numbers Since 2008 Rookie Season
George Hill provided the Bucks with depth at the point guard position. He seemed to fit the Bucks scheme as a long, athletic point guard who could spread the floor for Giannis, but he did not adjust the diminished role right away. He averaged 20.4 minutes per game which was the lowest since his rookie year in 2008. That was not the only category that was the lowest since his rookie year. Hill’s game averages for points, shot attempts, assists, and 3 point percentage joined minutes per game as lowest averages since his rookie year. The biggest area of struggle was his 3 point percentage. Hill’s 3 point percentage fell to 28% during the regular season. Hill was expected to be an additional veteran guard who could come in to take care of the ball and open the court for Giannis on the offensive end. At first, it seemed that Hill was continuing on his downward trend until Brogdon was injured, and he was called on to replace most of his minutes. Hill did not have the best regular season, but proved his value when he played a key role for the bucks during their 2019 playoff run.
Grade for the Season: B
The 2018-2019 was the tale of two George Hills. As stated before, this season George Hill posted many statistical lows, but that does not mean he wasn’t valuable for the Bucks. Hill is a veteran leader, who gave the Bucks consistent effort and composure throughout the season. The same leadership and composure allowed him to take over for former rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon at the end of the season and start of the playoffs. With increased playing time and the defense sagging off, he stepped up and made crucial plays for the Bucks in the playoffs. The trade for George Hill started as a salary dump, but turned into one of the most important additions for the Bucks as the season went on.
Role Next Season: Cap Casualty
Was his playoff run enough to make the Bucks keep him? It depends. George Hill’s contract is not guaranteed for the 2019-2020 season if he is released before July 1st, and with the Bledsoe (resigned), Lopez, Brogdon, and most likely Middleton becoming free agents, the Bucks will need to use every dollar wisely. In a perfect world Hill, who has come out and said that money isn’t the biggest deciding factor, would let the Bucks’ release him and sign a long term deal for less money. For all the Packers fan, this is exactly was AJ Hawk did for the Packers in 2013. Let’s hope that there is something about Wisconsin that just makes players take less money to stay in such a great sport state. However, if that charm doesn’t exist, it is very likely that George Hill could become a necessary cap casualty in order to have more cap flexibility.
Whatever happens with George Hill and his future with the Bucks, he made the most of his opportunities this season. Wherever he ends up next year, he will be a strong veteran leader who will fit into any role his team needs him to. After all, you don’t become one of Gregg Popovich’s favorite players for no reason.