Indiana Pacers point guard is still developing his NBA game and part of that is making a bigger impact as a leader on and off the court.
During an interview on The Dan Dakich Show on Thursday, Hill talked about the game-winner in Los Angeles and his prime time role for the Pacers when the game is on the line. He talked about how Mel Daniels spoke with him before the team left Indy about shooting more and being more assertive.
Hill also mentioned that Larry Bird echoed those sentiments in his parting words with Hill before leaving the Fieldhouse. Bird felt Hill was too unselfish at times and needed to shoot the ball more. Those are some pretty solid sources to boost a young players confidence. Hill also talked about the great leadership presence David West brings to the Pacers.
So when it is time to win a game, Frank Vogel is fine leaving it up to Hill to make a play for himself or David West to win the game. Hill said he's a "firm believer" in not being afraid to take the final shot with the game on the line.
That attitude allows Hill to lead by example. And leading is what Hill is focusing on along with developing his NBA game.
"Just being more of a vocal leader out there on the floor," Hill said about areas he is focusing on. "I know this team right now looks at me as a veteran and coming from San Antonio and things like that, so just working on how I can become a better leader on and off the court. Telling people the right things to do and wrong things to do and things that have helped me in my career so far."
When asked if he learned those lessons he's trying to pass on from his days in San Antonio, Hill explained the impact his time with the Spurs had on his development.
"Definitely, just how to be a true professional," Hill said. "Coach Pop always said there's two types of professionals and I never got it. He kind of put them in two categories: being a professional and being an NBA professional. I never knew what the difference was until I got there with him to be that true NBA professional and not just a professional."
So as Hill continues to look more and more comfortable playing a leading role with the ball in his hands for the Pacers, you can see that growth isn't a fluke. Gregg Popovich on the mindset of a pro. Tony Parker on the array of tear drop finishes around the rim. Mel Daniels being Mel. Larry Bird being Larry. David West lending a daily leadership lesson by example.
Those are some impressive resources for Hill to tap into as he expands his impact for the Pacers. But the end product still requires the internal desire and work ethic to apply all of those lessons. So far, Hill has shown he's willing to do what it takes to lead the Pacers on the court and also help some of his young teammates learn how to be NBA professionals.
And that hard work is starting to show signs of paying off.