After getting off to yet another slow start Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings, head coach Frank Vogel has astutely decided that it is time for a change.
Vogel says George Hill will return to the starting lineup Wednesday but will still play limited minutes as he recovers from a groin strain.— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 2, 2015
Hill, having suffered a torn quadricep during the NBA's preseason and, later, a groin injury, has only appeared in 10 games for the Pacers this season. While small sample size is certainly something worth considering, it is notable that Indiana is playing .500 basketball (5-5) when the elder half of the G2 Zone has been back in the fold. Averaging 13.6 points per game in those contests, Hill is currently the Pacers' leading scorer. Most importantly, Indiana outscores opponents by a team-best 9.2 points with the Hill on the court (mimimum 200 minutes played).
|PACERS OVERALL||GP||MIN||OFFRtg||NETRTG||AST RATIO||EFG%|
|ON/OFF COURT||GP||MIN||OFFRTG||NETRTG||AST RATIO||EFG%|
|George Hill On Court||10||221||108.3||9.2||18.1||50.8%|
|George Hill Off Court||49||2151||97.0||-4.3||16.0||46.7%
Since returning to the playing rotation, Hill has provided Indiana's offense with a much needed as well as undeniable jolt of energy. With Hill off the court, Indiana's 97.0 points per 100 possessions bests only the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. Indiana's 108.3 offensive rating with the Broad Ripple product on the court would slot the Pacers at sixth if maintained.
During the month of January, Indiana's current starting lineup (C.J. Watson, Rodney Stuckey, Solomon Hill, David West, and Roy Hibbert) has struggled mightily. In 12 games played, this five-man unit has given up a very uncharacteristic 114.0 points per 100 possessions and been outscored by a margin of 19.7 points per 100 possessions. Replace Watson with George Hill and in a minuscule 14 minutes played that lineup, comparatively, is holding opponents to a more Pacer-esque 81.9 points per 100 possessions and outscoring opponents by 15.9 points per 100 possessions in January.
Given the positive impact George Hill is having on both ends of the court, reinserting him into the starting lineup is a no-brainer and even more so when considering how woefully the current iteration has struggled.
As head coach Frank Vogel has pointed out time and time again, "We've been off to poor starts on a regular basis, and we've got to see how we can turn it around."