Lakers report card: Jordan Hill’s injury derails a promising season

This is the tenth in a series grading the Lakers’ efforts on the 2012-13 season.

Player: Jordan Hill, Lakers forward

How he performed: Averaged a career-high 6.7 points and career-high 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes through 29 regular-season games; Averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in only 10.3 minutes per game through three playoff games

The Good:When Hill was actually on the court, he fulfilled the exact job description that made him a pleasant surprise in the Lakers’ 2011-12 season. Hill provided tons of energy on the boards and on defense. He became a critical piece in giving the Lakers’ frontline in Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol some rest. Hill even showed some signs he could expand his mid-range game.

But those good signs suddenly evaporated once Hill injured his left hip in the Lakers’ loss Jan. 6th against the Denver Nuggets, keeping him out for nearly the entire season. Hill conceded in his exit interview that it’s possible he will only recover to about 90-95 percent because of the seriousness of an injury that required surgery. But assuming he can stay healthy, there’s no reason to think Hill can’t duplicate what he’s consistently provided in the past 1 1/2 seasons for the Lakers. After all, Hill initially convinced a skeptical Mike D’Antoni to convince him to play after siting out for three consecutive games in December.

The Bad:It’s impossible to tout Hill’s season as successful when he missed 53 regular-season games because of his injury. He returned for the Lakers’ Game 2, 3, and 4 losses in their first-round matchup against San Antonio. But Hill appeared in only limited minutes and remained a non-factor. Hill also hasn’t shown a consistent track record that he can become the mid-range player he’s aspiring to become.

Grade:B. Hill showed plenty of promise. But like everything surrounding the Lakers, injuries derailed his season.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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  • LakerTom

    Good analysis, Mark. I sure hope Hill regains most of his athleticism back. He was just terrific when he could stay on the court. His hustle, rebounding, and defense were sorely missed after he went down.

    • http://twitter.com/MarkG_Medina Mark Medina

      Thanks a bunch Tom for the feedback. Hill epitomized what the Lakers lacked on a consistent basis – someone willing to hustle and provide energy regardless of the circumstances. I’m curious to see how D’Antoni determines his role. Remember, Clark only got time because of Hill’s injury. Does Clark suddenly stop playing or is D’Antoni going to try to split their minutes? (All assuming Clark returns of course)