Oct 25, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Solomon Hill (9) warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Pacers defeated the Mavericks 98-77. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Can Solomon Hill Step Up in 2014?

The Indiana Pacers are looking at a very uncertain future with Lance Stephenson continuing to decline their offer this offseason, and they didn’t have a draft pick to work with either. They have signed both Damjan Rudez and C.J. Miles, but these two additions alone would not make up for losing Stephenson. One name that both Larry Bird and Frank Vogel have been talking very highly of is second year wing Solomon Hill.

Indiana drafted Hill with the 23rd overall pick in the first round in last years NBA Draft, but he was extremely ineffective during his rookie season. He ended up playing in 28 regular season games, averaging just 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Those numbers are extremely unimpressive, but the Pacers feel that he is more than capable of coming in next season and being a role player.

“I’m really excited about what Solomon Hill can do for us. I think if he was pushed into a situation where he had to play 15-20 minutes a game all year he could have been a difference in our playoff run. He’s got the ability to be an elite defender – an elite defender, not just an average defender.” - Frank Vogel

Needless to say, those are glowing compliments from the head coach, which usually is a good sign for any player. There is no denying that Hill has talent, but is he ready to step up and play a large bench role for a team that is hoping to compete for a championship? That remains to be seen, but there are a few positive signs that Pacers fans can have some confidence.

First of all, he did show some signs of confidence on the offensive end of the floor when he got some playing towards towards the end of the season. He needs to work on his perimeter shot, but he does have a good nose for getting into the paint and finishing shots. His defense was solid all season long, and he grew as a passer as well. If he is forced into a larger role this season, he should be able to fend for himself.

Overall, this will be a situation to keep an eye on as the season continues to draw closer. The Pacers likely aren’t done making moves, but they might leave a spot open in the rotation for Hill with how excited they sound about him. He will be playing for the Pacers’ Orlando Summer League team, so be sure to either watch the games or keep track of how he plays.

Tags: Frank Vogel Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson Larry Bird Solomon Hill

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