Pacers forward Solomon Hill has seen his role and minutes expand quickly at the start of the season. As his team contends with a loaded injury report, Hill has become a valuable player to begin his second season. While he expected to be part of the playing rotation this season, Hill's on-the-job training has jumped to doctorate level.
That comes with Frank Vogel utilizing his budding diverse skill set. That means Hill normall guards the other team's best wing player, or in the case of the last game in Washington, the other team's dynamic all-star point guard. It also means handling the ball more and trying to make plays off the bounce, something the former college power forward has had to develop in the NBA lab.
When he plays his best, Hill says he isn't thinking play-to-play, but instead just playing the game and executing. He also has to realize he is an option now in the offense, and being aggressive not only helps his individual play but opens things up for teamates by forcing the defense to account for him. Against, Milwaukee, Hill was frustrated by a few key turnovers which he felt let his team down, which he felt stemmed from losing his attack mentality and passing up open shots.
"Early on (against the Bucks), I got on a roll but then I stopped looking at the rim," Hill said. "I have to always look at the rim, gotta always be a threat, not only for myself but to open things up for my teammates, as well. I got passive and that's when I started to turn the ball over."
Hill took full blame for his four turnovers against Milwaukee, addressing the media on the matter like a seasoned veteran. But his NBA game is young and the player is hungry, which has made for a fun revelation early in the year. Hill is happy to get an opportunity, but isn't happy with the results. Playing a big part on the team would be more meaningful if the team was winning.
"Definitely benefiting," Sloan said regarding the early playing time. "But you don't want to be happy about getting playing time when your guys are losing. It's a lot better when you get playing time and you're winning."
Hill was more aggressive in 37 minutes on Wednesday against Washington, scoring 14 points on nine shots with eight rebounds, including a couple of impressive drives through the lane for hoops at the rim. His effort was nearly rewarded with a win, but the quest for another W had to wait until Friday night when the Pacers play in Boston.
Even when his more experienced teammates return to play, Hill has shown his value and ability to influence his team regardless of the eventual role he plays. The Pacers can rely on Hill to do his part, and if the team starts winning, Hill can start really enjoying the development of his NBA game.
Check out a few links which include stories about the Pacers getting some point guard help by signing A.J. Price: