Jordan Hill reported improvement with migraine

LakersÕ Jordan Hill is wrapped by by Suns P.J Tucker during first period action  at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

LakersÕ Jordan Hill is wrapped by by Suns P.J Tucker during first period action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Jordan Hill became the latest casualty of an injury-riddled lineup that cannot stay out of the trainer’s room.

He experienced a migraine on Sunday, but he still suited up in the Lakers’ 102-90 loss Sunday to the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center where he posted 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting and 10 rebounds.

“It went away,” Hill said after taking some Excedrin to relieve the pain.

If only the other Lakers’ injured players could heal so quickly.

The Lakers have season-ending injuries to Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Pau Gasol (vertigo) and Xavier Henry (torn ligament in left wrist, bone bruise in right knee. The Lakers are also without Steve Nash (nerve irritation in back) and Chris Kaman (strained right calf).

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

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Jordan Hill has no interest returning to the Lakers with same role

LakersÕ Jordan Hill is wrapped by by Suns P.J Tucker during first period action  at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

LakersÕ Jordan Hill is wrapped by by Suns P.J Tucker during first period action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Through all the missed defensive rotations, the absent rim protection and a missing source of energy, Jordan Hill sat on the bench without any chance to fill those needs.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni gave Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol a chance to start together in the team’s 124-112 loss Tuesday to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the sudden willingness of faith both exposed the tandem’s rustiness and left Hill among the few falling out of the rotation.

“It gets old,” Hill said, mindful he had posted 28 points in Milwaukee just five days earlier. “It’s what you can expect, though. It’s not a surprise. I can’t do nothing, but stay humble and continue to keep my head high and support my team.”
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Jordan Hill’s play in Lakers’ win over Orlando earns him an elevated role for now

The cuts all along Jordan Hill’s face have since hardened, the bruising images personifying a day’s worth of labor where he battles in the paint, fights for rebounds and boosts the Lakers’ energy.

Hill hasn’t provided that job description for quite some time. Partly because he missed six games earlier this month because of a hyperextended right knee. Partly because Hill didn’t match Mike D’Antoni’s preference for smaller and quicker lineups that feature stretch forwards. Partly because D’Antoni sensed Hill’s energy level wane as fatigue caught up to him.

But in the Lakers’ 103-94 victory Sunday over the Orlando Magic at Staples Center, Hill provided all the ingredients that made a key reserve for the past two seasons. So much that Hill’s career-high 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes prompted D’Antoni to say he scrap his small ball philosophies and start Hill should this keep up.

“I’d like to go the other way, but if you don’t win, I’m not going to go that way,” D’Antoni said. “If Jordan plays this way, we’re better this way.”

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Nick Young, Jordan Hill ruled out Wednesday vs. Spurs

Though both Nick Young and Jordan Hill participated in the past two practices without any setbacks, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni ruled both of them out for tomorrow’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.

Instead, the Lakers are targeting Young and Hill to return this weekend either Friday against Washington or Sunday against Orlando.

D’Antoni said both Young and Hill “looked okay.” Young has missed 14 of the past 15 games because of soreness in his left knee. Hill has sat out of the past seven games because of a hyerpextended right knee.

“They’re almost ready to play,” D’Antoni said. “The injuries aren’t too bad. I think Nick is further ahead than Jordan Hill just by looking at them. You can’t tell if they’re taking it easy because they’re cautious.”

Young has averaged a second-best 16.8 points, while Hill has averaged 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds despite becoming a casualty of D’Antoni’s preferred smaller lineup.

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Jordan Farmar leaves Monday’s practice with strained right groin

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

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Jordan Hill wants to stay with the Lakers, but vouches for consistent playing time

Lakers' Jordan Hill defends as Rockets' Terrence Jones takes a shot during first half action at Staples Center Wednesday, February 19, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Lakers’ Jordan Hill defends as Rockets’ Terrence Jones takes a shot during first half action at Staples Center Wednesday, February 19, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Jordan Hill sat by his locker stall in a relaxed state despite all the chaos swirling around him.

This may have marked his last day with the Lakers, coming on the heels of a 134-108 loss Wednesday to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. The Lakers engaged in plenty of trade discussions regarding Hill with various teams including the Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks, according to a league source.

Yet, Hill hardly sounded concerned on what scenarios might play out.

“It’s up in the air. I just have to wait it out now,” Hill said. “It’s a business. I’d definitely like to finish out my season here. But it’s a business. Whatever happens, happens.”

But if it’s up to Hill, he’d like to stay with the Lakers right?

“I do, but I do want to play though,” said Hill, who posted 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds in 26 minutes against Houston. “I want to play and get the minutes I need.”
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Source: Lakers-Brooklyn deal involving Jordan Hill unlikely to happen

The Lakers’ Jordan Hill #27 shoots during their game against the Thunder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday, February 13, 2014.The Thunder beat the Lakers 107-103. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers’ Jordan Hill #27 shoots during their game against the Thunder at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday, February 13, 2014.The Thunder beat the Lakers 107-103. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Although the Lakers engaged in preliminary talks about a trade that would send Jordan Hill to the Brooklyn Nets, the deal likely will not happen, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The main reason: Brooklyn would absorb a $17 million luxury tax penalty for acquiring Hill’s remaining $3.5 million on his expiring contract. Brooklyn has some flexibility considering its $5.25 million disabled player exception could be used to absorb Hill’s contract. But that doesn’t erase the luxury tax implications. The Nets would then have shelled out around $190 million in combined payroll and luxury tax.
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Will Jordan Hill expand his game?

The job description Mike D’Antoni provided for Jordan Hill represents a perfect case study on both a player’s evolution and a coach’s perception of him.

Four years ago, D’Antoni found so little use for Hill as the New York Knicks’ eighth overall draft pick that he hardly played his rookie season before getting shipped to the Houston Rockets. Nearly a year ago, D’Antoni sat Hill for three consecutive games because he saw no value in how he’d fit into a offense predicated on outside shooters until his endlessly valuable and defense convinced him otherwise. During this offseason, both D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant both instructed Hill to work on his mid-range game, an order the Lakers forward took to heart by taking between 600-700 shots per day at his Atlanta residence.

D’Antoni remains undecided whether Hill will start at power forward alongside Pau Gasol or if he will come off the bench. But D’Antoni remains adamant that Hill can become an effective mid-range shooter without diluting his effectiveness as an energy player in rebounding and on defense.

“One doesn’t mean he can’t do the other,” D’Antoni said. “If you’re shooting it, you’re not getting the rebound. When he’s not shooting it, he’ll get the rebound. It’ll just make him a better player.”
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NBA2K14 simulation predicts Lakers will miss playoffs

An NBA2K14 simulation has the Lakers missing the NBA playoffs. Photo Credit: NBA2K

An NBA2K14 simulation has the Lakers missing the NBA playoffs. Photo Credit: NBA2K

Anxiousness awaits for the Lakers’ training camp, and for what?

Very few tab them as NBA championship favorites. Uncertainty lingers on how Kobe Bryant will look after he heals his left Achilles tendon. Skepticism persists over whether Mike D’Antoni can lead these Lakers through troubled times.

That’s perhaps why NBA2K14, a video game that prides itself on comprehensive player analysis and credible game simulations, tabs the Lakers this season failing to reach the playoffs and finishing with a 35-47 record. Granted, NBA2K13 rated last year’s Lakers as the NBA championship favorites, and we all know how that turned out. The NBA2K franchise also may do its own simulations before the Oct. 1 release. I received an advance copy and performed my own simulation.

But there’s plenty of reasons to feel skeptical about the Lakers. Dwight Howard bolted for the Houston Rockets. The Lakers lost their best defensive player in Metta World Peace for the sake of saving luxury taxes through the amnesty provision. The Lakers’ offseason additions in Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmar bring some added speed and additional scoring. But on paper, it appears the Lakers don’t have enough defensively.

“This team just doesn’t have enough athleticism and speed to contend for a title,” said Clark Kellog, who offers analysis with Steve Kerr while Kevin Harlan serves as the play-by-play announcer for the NBA2K14 game.
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James Worthy mixed on Dwight Howard, Lakers landing big free agent

Rarely have the Lakers ever suggested to wait until next year. After all, the franchise has collected 16 NBA championships, and usually expects to win another one both to surpass the Boston Celtic’s 17 and because the Lakers are used to hoisting up the Larry O’Brien trophy. But the Lakers have plenty of uncertainty this offseason. Kobe Bryant has continuously rehabbed on his left Achilles tendon, while Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are recovering from their respective hamstring and knee injuries. Dwight Howard left for Houston on his own, while Metta World Peace went to New York so the Lakers could save money. Skepticism remains on whether a full training camp and a crop of younger players more suited for his system will be enough in coach Mike D’Antoni leading the Lakers toward success.

So with few hardly predicting they will win the 2013 NBA championship, the Lakers are looking toward the 2014 offseason when they have a high amount of cap flexibility. Steve Nash and Robert Sacre remain the lone two players with guaranteed contracts after next season for a combined $10.5 million, giving the Lakers next July plenty of money to pursue high-level players that could become free agents, including LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Randolph, Chris Bosh, Rudy Gay and Luol Deng.

James Worthy, who won three NBA titles with the Lakers during the Showtime Era and is an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, shared mixed feelings on whether the Lakers can attract another top-level free agent.

“I personally think L.A. is a desirable place to play,” Worthy said in an interview with this newspaper. “But I don’t know what the rest of the league and other players are thinking. Dwight Howard just came here for one year and then left for Houston, Texas.”

Howard could’ve signed with the Lakers for a five-year deal worth $118 million, as opposed to the four-year deal worth $87.6 million he will earn with the Houston Rockets. What did Worthy make of Howard’s departure?

“Dwight is a little bit too aloof for me to be that dominant player,” Worthy said. “I don’t think he can be a LeBron James, a Kobe Bryant or a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or a Hakeem Olajuwon. He’s a good player and a very effective defensive player. But I just don’t think he was ready to handle the pressure.”

Read more in part two of my interview with Worthy, who talks on a wide-range of topics, including Howard, the Lakers’ 2014 offseason and expectations for Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Jordan Hill

Below is the seventh post in a series previewing the storylines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2013-14 season. This post focuses on Lakers backup forward Jordan Hill.

1. Can Hill stay healthy? Hill proved plenty on the Lakers wrong of his value when he first arrived in Los Angeles. At first, Hill was considered nothing more than a chance for the Lakers to relieve cap space after acquiring him from Houston for Derek Fisher. But Hill eventually cemented himself as a reliable rebounder and defender. Yet, the Lakers haven’t fully taken advantage of Hill’s presence because of numerous injuries.

Last season, Hill appeared in only 29 regular-season games before injuring his left hip and needing surgery. The Lakers expected Hill would sit out the entire season, but he rehabbed quickly enough to play in three playoff games. He only averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 10.3 minutes during that stretch, a far cry from the career-high 6.7 points and career-high 5.7 rebounds he posted in 15.8 minutes per game before injuring his hip. Hill’s spent most of his offseason rehabbing from his hip, but admitted it won’t ever become the same as it once was before having surgery.

That means Hill must take extra precaution in doing whatever treatment and rest necessary to ensure the hip never flares up. All while still staying aggressive on the court. Whether he will do this remains to be seen. He was limited the previous two seasons both with Houston and the Lakers because of an MCL sprain in his right knee. Hill was also hobbled earlier last season from a herniated disk in his back.

2. Will Hill’s outside jumper improve? He mostly focused on that area this offseason in hopes of becoming more of a complete player and possibly becoming a stretch forward in Mike D’Antoni’s system. There’s plenty of debate on whether it’s actually good for D’Antoni to feature Hill more as a jump shooter than a low-post player (it isn’t a good idea). But it definitely won’t hurt if Hill adds more to his game simply so he can become more dangerous offensively.

Hill said he’s addressed that this offseason at his Atlanta residence by taking at least 1,000 shots per day, focusing on his ball handling and receiving pointers from reserve shooting guard Jodie Meeks. Hill took steps prior to last season to improve his shot, but it hasn’t translated. Hoopdata illustrates how Hill’s current success relies more on looks inside. Consider his shooting percentage on shots at the rim (65.2 percent), attempts within three to nine feet (40.7 percent) and shots 16 to 23 feet from the basket (33 percent). Hill shot 50 percent on shots within 10-15 feet, but they’re considered a small sample size. Meanwhile, Hill has never made a three-pointer in his four-year NBA career.

It’s unrealistic to expect Hill suddenly to become an elite outside shooter. But if his shooting accuracy improves, that will yield plenty of trickle-down affects. Hill will have an expanded role and become more of a dependable insurance policy for Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman. It’ll also help stretch the floor, giving easier looks to Gasol and Kaman in the post, Bryant on the wing and the post and the team’s outside shooters on the perimeter.
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