Thoughts on Rockets – Wizards

2010 March 10
by rahat huq

This could have also been titled Jordan Hill’s Big Night Part 2. The rookie forward/(center??) scored 11 points and grabbed 8 boards in his 26 minutes of play, making an immediate impact off the bench.

Within six minutes, he had already scored 9 points and grabbed 5 boards, garnering raves from the Wizards broadcast crew. After picking up a foul, they exclaimed, “that might be the only thing that can slow him down,” gushing over his relentlessness.

I realized why I’m so intrigued by Hill. It suddenly hit me during the game that he is the first rookie lottery pick that we have had the pleasure of watching since Yao Ming’s debut at the start of the last decade. More than mere escapism from a lost season, previously acclaimed prospects enable the imagination, allowing it to envisage a savior at the position, sans fear of inhibition of unreasonable odds; because he was the 8th pick, we actually don’t have to feel silly discussing Jordan Hill’s upside.

A few plays stood out to me in this one:

First, we saw him deftly maneuver once more for the jump hook, looking very fluid in the motion. You have to go back once again to Yao Ming to recall another Rockets big who was this refined at this early of a stage. The late Eddie Griffin had only a baseline turnaround from the left block. Before them, Othella Harrington didn’t develop his patented baby hook until after a summer in the blocks with Carrol Dawson.

Despite the Wizards’ success on the play, it was this one that most jumped out at me last night. He leaves his man to trap the guard on the perimeter and then is able to recover back to the weakside to protect the lane. Readers not familiar with the Houston Rockets are no doubt shaking their heads at what may appear to be aggrandizement of the ordinary. Understand that this franchise has not had a fully functional, full-sized power forward since….Otis Thorpe? The ability to move should be requisite for a Yao Ming sidekick, with the giant unable to chase smaller players away from the paint. In this era, we have not had someone with that ability. It was supposed to be the late Eddie Griffin, and then later, Stromile Swift. With the reports regarding his work ethic, Jordan Hill steps in as the most compelling power forward prospect this team has had in ages.

It’s too early to tell what he can bring offensively. He’s fluid, but many players league-wide show early flashes. With that said, I am convinced that with the proper tutelage, with that endless length and his quick feet, Hill can be an impact presence defensively some day. It still remains to be seen if he ever does put on sufficient bulk, or has the cerebral capacity to pick up schemes. So much of defense is between the ears; we learned that from Stromile Swift.

Still, I’m thankful to the coaching staff for giving Hill some burn. It has added some excitement to what is now a lost season.

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  • Rockets watcher
    We must have had a deal with New York on Hill since before the draft. Houston's office pinpointed Bud and Hill while they were still hooping together at Arizona and knew they needed them as a double package.
    Houston had to have worked out a deal with NY on McGrady around that time to facilitate the negotiations.
    We obviously swept in on Budinger during the draft and had every intent on giving him good minutes, but when NY landed Hill as the #8 pick in the first freaking round...! and didn't play him much at all....!?
    Come on, it seems orchestrated. I'm not complaining. It just seems like this is the way Houston wanted it from the beginning and they're getting it their way. Now, if those other future first round picks they negotiated with NY on turn out good, then that's 3 potentially solid 1st round cream of the crop talent to build off of for the next 4 years, featuring Bud, Hill, and a new Center and another Shooting guard. All young, all hungry, and ready to play hard.
  • thirdcoastborn
    This comment make no sense. With Landry and Scola we already were set at the four, thats why we drafted 2 two guards. We dont have a track record of making trades with NEW York like we do with Orlando and Sacremento, New York wanted to clear cap room for this summer. Why would they make a deal for McGrady around draft time when he was no way in shape and it was still undetermined when he would be ready.And if a deal was made back then then why did we take to right before the trading deadline to make the deal, and why was New York still trying to make the deal without them giving up Hill. If we did not take Jeffries they would of kept Hill and gave us somebody else.
  • Charlie
    Rockets won't have a better PF than Scola in many years to come
  • rahat_huq
    bob - i noticed that too, which is odd, because reading the reports about him prior to the trade, i was expecting stromile swift. one of the big knocks was that he looked lost on the court.

    thirdcoast - i just can't see us making the playoffs at this point, but i'm not exactly known for optimism.

    mike b - that was the sense i got too. i don't think they actually targeted hill. it was just a case of trying to squeeze out as much as they could, from my understanding. morey himself said they rated him as in the 10-20 range before the draft - not exactly a ringing endorsement.
  • Stephen
    If I remember correctly there was some pre-draft talk that if the Rockets could get into the draft low enough he was the guy they wanted.

    I'll say it now-Hill is already a better defender than Landry. He doesn't pick up those dumb fouls Carl still committs.Hill blocks out better by far than Landry. And Hill has shown a pretty decent passing ability,doesn't seem flustered w/the ball,makes crisp accurate passes and seems to have at least decent court vision. On the other hand I doubt Hill will ever develope as deadly a jumper as Carl,nor equal his FT shooting.
    I believe Carl will always be the superior scorer,but Hill be a far better well-rounded player and a much superior complementary player.
  • luislandry
    Seems like an appropriate time for a Landry update: Started off 0/6 last game, ended half 1/7. Second half, starts off 6/6 and the Kings win it.

    I like Hill as well, good points about his mobility as a big upside when paired with Yao. I think he will be a solid shooter as well.
  • Mike B
    Hill just seems to have very good instincts on the court. We have definitely been starving for a PF that can maneuver and snatch rebounds like he can for many, many years.

    It almost feels like Morey is just getting lucky at this point. lol. We owe a lot of credit to the coaching staff for bringing along a lot of these young players that Morey has turned into gold. At the time of the trade, Hill was just the best option available from the Knicks and I kind of viewed it as the Rockets "taking what they can get." But Hill looks like he could be worth that shell of Tracy Mcgrady that we traded away BY HIMSELF.
  • thirdcoastborn
    We looked good last night with the injured back. I wonder with Ariza and Lowry back can we start a winning streak to get in the playoffs. Hill looks good and i like his height , but it took a few years for Landry to emerge, so i need to see alittle more. Scola has played great the last few games.
  • bob schmidt
    My biggest surprise with Hill is that he shows purpose with his movement on the court. Many big men look lost as they move around, and aren't showing any BB IQ. I've noticed the same thing with Bud, maybe their coach at Arizona deserves some credit with teaching good basics to both of them. It's nice to have a bright spot to focus on with our Rockets........
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