Is Jordan Hill Yao’s new best friend? – The Dream Shake

2010 April 6
by rahat huq

But even more, Hill can provide Yao with the sort of help D he’s never gotten.  Despite the greasy taste in my mouth I get whenever I think about it, I’ve long through Andrei Kirilenko would have been a great complement to Yao.  AK47 (before Jerry Sloan ruined him for not being a bigot, and misting up a little too often after his baby was born) was an excellent weakside shot blocker, and can fly in at weird angles to block shot, or alter them.

Basically, I thought he could effectively eliminate Yao’s main defensive weaknesses: slow rotation to deal with offensive penetration in the lane, vulnerability to strong, quick, post players who get good passing from their PG, and difficulty covering “stretch” or long-range shooting centers and PFs.  (Notice that Utah itself posses players that exemplify every one of those weaknesses?  It’s no mystery why Houston and Yao have trouble with them.)  With a guy like Kirilenko, Yao would receive defensive help against all of that – he could set to contest the shot, or simply hold his ground, and wait for help to come and swat it away.

No one on Houston has been able to do that, and AK47 isn’t what he once was, while his contract remains so radioactive that it qualifies as another Russian nuclear disaster.

But what about Hill?  Could he do these things?  Can he provide the quick jumping offensive rebounding Yao lacks?  Yes.  Can he block shots “oblique” to the play?  So far, it looks like he might.  Can he stop his own man inside?  Yes, though that’s a work in progress.  Can he bring help to Yao against quicker players?  I’m thinking yes.  Can he play in the high post, and make defenses pay for fronting or doubling Yao – again, a work in progress, but signs are encouraging.  Can he snare defensive rebounds that Yao lacks the footspeed to track down?  I’d say yes to that one already.

via Is Jordan Hill Yao’s new best friend? – The Dream Shake.

Completely agree with The Dream Shake on this one.  I have long thought Kirilenko would have been close to ideal at the ‘4′ for this team.  Heading into the year, I thought one possibility that could have surfaced, in the Jazz’s desperation to unload salary, was a trade involving Tracy McGrady, Kirilenko, and the Knicks’ 2010 pick (currently held by Utah.)

The greater point is that Jordan Hill is the prototypical complement to Yao Ming.  He’s who the late Eddie Griffin should have been.  Jordan Hill does everything Yao cannot, and in the process, covers up for his weaknesses and immobility.  Having a rangy, athletic almost-7-footer allows you to keep Yao in the game against those difficult matchups and allows Yao to punish teams for their lack of size without being punished so harshly at the other end.

The hope for Jordan Hill is to take the quantum leap this summer and quite frankly, I don’t see how it won’t happen.  This is a guy renowned for his work ethic who is pretty much producing 10 and 5 in his first significant minutes in the NBA.  I don’t know if the post-game will ever be there, but you can easily see the other aspects of his game improving to the point of starter-level serviceability, as early as next year.

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  • Stephen
    Like what I've seen from Hill so far. Esp like what we've seen of his passing ability. If he can develope a FT line jumper can easily see him playing high post feeding Yao. Still slightly worried about his hands.
    Really hope a summer of work w/Sikma will see him vastly improve on the subtleties of big man play.

    I'm really satisfied that Hill will be part of a 3.5 man big rotation next season. Hill should be able to play w/Yao and he's shown he can play w/Scola-and should be able to complement a Bosh as well. So a solid big rotation of Yao/Scola(Bosh?)/Hill is set w/specialists in Hayes(D),Andersen(O),rookie big(developing) and Jeffries(energy) on the bench as needed.
  • bushies
    I hope and think you're right, has me dreaming of serious post presence we desperately lacked this year. Say he comes on well and earns the starting job at the 4, who/where do we improve from there?
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