Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jordan Hill and Steve Blake Are Having Career Years

Enough cannot be said about the play of Jordan Hill. Hill, the 8th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the New York Knicks, has always been a force on the boards, averaging an impressive 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes of play time. Unluckily for him, Mike D'Antoni, who was his coach with the Knicks, benched him early on in the season before ultimately trading him to the Houston Rockets during the middle of the season.

After another season of only getting 15 minutes a game, despite superb rebounding numbers, Hill was traded to the Lakers for Derek Fisher and a 2014 first round pick. Unfortunately, Hill has dealt with numerous injuries through out his career, but he was finally given a chance this year and the results have been better than expected. Hill's per 36 numbers this season? 17.9 points per game, 14.5 rebounds per game. In 20.9 minutes per game, Hill has put up a line of 10.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. Still want to bench him, Mike? Hill has been worth 1.3 Win Shares through 12 games, which is roughly the same amount he was worth last year in 29 games. His WS/48 is up to an astonishing .248 which is Kobe Bryant level of production, just completely dominating on the boards and playing very good defensively. He currently has a PER of 25.2, which is among the elite of the NBA, currently ranked 6th among players with 10 or more games played. Here's the short list of elite talent that ranks above Hill in PER: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.  Of course, this type of production is likely not sustainable for the season, but it is nice to see Hill make the most of his opportunity and he has been enormous for a Laker team that desperately needed a solid big man to play next to Pau Gasol

Steve Blake has been rejuvenated playing under Mike D'Antoni. Coming off of his best season ever as a pro last year, he earned a B+ in Hack-a-Shaq's end of the season player reviews. 

"Ultimately, Blake had a big impact on Lakers' basketball, providing a calming presence and quality play in substitution for Steve Nash, either off the bench or starting in place of him (Blake finished with 13 starts on the year). Much like Nash, Blake shot the ball exceptionally well, placing 7th on the Lakers' highest shooting percentage from three point land for a season. In short, Steve Blake redeemed himself for his disappointing seasons with the Lakers and missing the biggest shot of his life, while earning his final season of his contract with the Lakers."
Somehow, Blake has been better than ever and has managed to improve upon last season, as he has upped his scoring average to 9.8 points per game, while nearly doubling his assists per game, currently at an excellent 7.3 (he finished Sunday's game with a whopping 16 assists). Blake has been everything the Lakers have needed and more at the point guard position, doing everything from pick and rolls, to playing excellent defense, to hitting three point shots, including a game winning one over the Dwight Howard led Rockets. 

I don't know about you, but I'm very excited to see what he brings to the table when Kobe Bryant finally returns. If Blake can, at the very least, keep hitting three pointers at this pace (currently shooting 46.4% from deep), the Lakers can be an extremely dangerous squad, with great offensive production at nearly every position.