The Indiana Pacers drafted Solomon Hill with their first round pick last season, and they are extremely excited about the potential that he has for the future. Larry Bird and Frank Vogel both expect to see Hill become a role player this season, and he could even be their primary backup small forward. What improvements must Hill make before the season gets here to be able to play to his full potential?
First of all, Hill will need to work on his offensive consistency before he’s able to step on the floor and make a difference. There were some bright spots last year, but for the most part his shot was extremely inconsistent. He has the ability to get to the rim and finish, but in Vogel’s offense he will likely be more of a spot up shooter who has the green light to drive if need be.
He does have a decent mid-range game when he gets into the paint, and he has a very nice fadeaway move as well when he uses it. His three-point shot needs some work as far as his form goes, but he did show some progress late in the season. As a whole, he is going to have a lot of work to do offensively before he is able to make an impact on that end of the floor. That being said, he does’t have a ton time in order to make those changes before the season rolls around.
Defensively, he is an extremely talented player who the Pacers believe is going to be an elite defender. Vogel was very clear that he didn’t expect Hill to be an average defender, and in fact thought that he could be in the same type of group as Paul George. Those words were extremely supportive and could have been trying to raise his trade value as well. Even if that was the case, he has shown enough on the court to be listed as a very good defensive player with even more potential.
There are other concerns regarding his passing ability, and he definitely needs help as far as his ball-handling and playmaking ability. He is very slow with his handles, but does possess a high basketball IQ so he didn’t allow his lack of ability to turn into a turnover problem. That being said, he wasn’t on the floor against backup level players either, so he’ll have to improve in both areas in a big way.
Overall, he is a player with a lot of potential to become a good backup small forward. He is a great defender which will fit with what the Pacers do well, but his offense has to improve in order for him to stay on the floor for any amount of time. The Pacers’ main issue was finding scorers off of the bench, and having a player on the floor that is inconsistent at best obviously won’t help that. If he can improve his three-point shot enough to become a threat from beyond the arc, he will be just fine coming off the bench.