The Indiana Pacers have a predicament at the point guard position, and specifically, it involves starter George Hill. While Hill has played well, the Pacers need to change his role in their lineup.
Since coming to the Pacers via trade in 2011, Hill has been a nice complementary play for them. In five seasons with the team, he has averaged 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. While these are good numbers for a role player, Hill’s low assist average should concern the Pacers because he is the point guard.
Traditionally, a point guard should be able to create shots for himself and his teammates. Hill does not excel at either one of these things. As a result, the Indiana Pacers’ offense was stagnant at times last season.
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Hill’s lack of playmaking abilities was not an issue in his first couple of years with the team because the Pacers had Lance Stephenson. Say what you want about Stephenson, he shared a lot of the ball-handling duties with Hill and was often times the better playmaker of the two.
When Stephenson left, the Pacers needed Hill to drastically improve his playmaking skills, which was hard for him to do. If fact, he admitted being a point guard was “a little bit” uncomfortable for him in 2013.
Hill is a good NBA player, but it hard to run an effective offense with a point guard who struggles to make plays for himself and others. The Pacers should try to move Hill to a different position this offseason, specifically shooting guard.
Prior to joining the Pacers, Hill primarily played shooting guard with the San Antonio Spurs, and his playing style reflects that. Hill’s top skills are defense, moving without the ball and spot up shooting. Hill skills are a better fit at shooting guard, not point guard. To fully maximize his skills, the Pacers should move Hill to shooting guard.
By playing off the ball, Hill can spot up in open areas on the floor, like behind the three-point line. He led the team with a 40.8 three-point shooting percentage, and a lot of his makes were spot up shooting opportunities.
The Indiana Pacers have the pieces to make a move like this work. Monta Ellis played very well when sharing the point guard duties with Hill last season. He could their short-term point guard.
If the Pacers want a more long-term solution, they currently have the 20th pick overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Point guard prospects like Wade Baldwin IV or Tyler Ulis are viable draft options for them.
The one concern about moving Hill to shooting guard is his height. He is only 6’2” tall, which will make it hard for him to guard most shooting guards, who are usually around 6’7” tall. However, this is a nonissue because the Pacers played with an undersized starting backcourt last year.
Ellis is only 6’3” tall, and as mentioned before, Hill is 6’2” tall. Yet, the Pacers still did pretty well defensively with those two making up their starting backcourt. They could have even more success offensively if they move Hill off the ball.
Hill is still a serviceable NBA player. He has a lot of very good skills, but playmaking in not one of them. For this reason, the Indiana Pacers need to move him from the point guard position to the shooting guard position this offseason.