As the Los Angeles Lakers near the end of their All-Star break, and a day ahead of the NBA trade deadline, there are some key decisions to make in the days ahead. Chat live with Lakers beat writer Mark Medina from 9 a.m. (Pacific) to 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18.
The Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)
Below is the third in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers center Jordan Hill.
1. Will Jordan Hill feel more comfortable under Lakers coach Byron Scott? For all the career highs Jordan Hill posted in points (9.7), shooting percentage (54.9 percent), rebounds (7.4) and minutes (20.8) last season, he never seemed to enjoy playing for former coach Mike D’Antoni. The reasons included Hill’s fluctuating minutes and feeling underutilized in a system that puts a strong emphasis on floor spacing and outside shooting. There was a sense Hill believed that D’Antoni’s fast-paced system came at the expense of the team’s defense.
Hill won’t have D’Antoni as a crutch to blame for any struggles this season. Scott has already penciled Hill in as his tentative starting center. Scott has raved about Hill’s paint presence and has said he will put a high emphasis on defense. Scott’s offensive system does not put the same demands as D’Antoni does in having shooters to can outside jumpers and space the floor. So on paper, it appears Hill will have more of a comfortable working relationship with Scott than D’Antoni. But Hill will have to play the games first.
The hits keep coming for the Lakers, who announced Monday that Dwight Howard suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team also said Pau Gasol has a concussion and also will be out indefinitely. Jordan Hill has a right hip injury and won’t travel with the team to Houston for Tuesday’s game.