Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Sports
  3. NBA

Jordan Hill was criminally underused this year

See also

The Los Angeles Lakers finished with a franchise low record of 27-55, good for second last in the Western Conference and the 6th worst overall record in the league, thanks to many, many factors. Injuries plagued the Lakers for the majority of the season, as did sub-par play from the players who were there, including Pau Gasol's first half of the season. However, coaching also played a big part, and Mike D'Antoni certainly did himself no favors by rarely using one of the team's better players in Jordan Hill.

And rest assured that Jordan Hill was one of the team's top players, advanced metrics say that Hill was the team's best and most efficiency player. Hill led the Lakers in Player Efficiency Rating with 19.39, just edging out Pau Gasol and his 19.34 PER. Hill was ranked 11th in PER for power forwards and 9th for centers, posting up a better PER than guys like David Lee, Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Derrick Favos, DeAndre Jordan, among others, and ranked just below Joakim Noah (for centers), Kenneth Faried, Paul Millsap and Serge Ibaka. That is quite the list of players, but that's not all; Hill also led the Lakers in Win Shares per 48 minutes with .141, which is well above the league average of .100. No other Laker registered a WS/48 of over .084. Somehow, D'Antoni only played Hill for 20.8 minutes per game, good for 14th on the team, 13th out of 16 total players who played more than 10 games.

Hill ended the season averaging "only" 9.7 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game, but his per 36 minutes numbers tell a much better story; Hill's per 36 averages ended up being 16.7 points per game and 12.8 rebounds per game, which are astonishingly good numbers for a player who isn't known to be an offensive juggernaut, by any means of the word. Of course, Hill likely wouldn't average that if he played 36 minutes per game for the whole season, because he's an energy player who relies on great rebounding and hustle to produce offensively. That's not to say Hill wouldn't have succeeded, however his numbers would have likely dipped a bit in the efficiency department. Despite that, Hill's elite offensive rebounding is the reason to play him, and not doing so gave up a lot of size and rebounding to opposing teams; the reason why the Lakers were ranked 25th in rebounding is because of D'Antoni's often questionable rotations that included Hill on the bench.

With decisions like that, it's not hard to see why the Lakers had the worst season in franchise history and now look to luck into a top-5 draft choice in this year's NBA draft. Coaches can't leave their better players on the bench for most of the game and expect to be successful; it's coaching moves like this that will be the reason as to why Mike D'Antoni will likely be fired very, very soon.

Advertisement