Breaking Down Why Jordan Hill’s Emergence Is No Fluke for LA Lakers

Jordan Hill is for real.

Earlier in his career, that sentence would have read differently. Jordan Hill is really bad. Jordan Hill is really injury prone. Jordan Hill is the bane of New York Knicks fans' existence.

Four years of criticism behind him, Hill has come on strong in his fifth. Calling him the Los Angeles Lakers' second-best player wouldn't be a stretch because it's presently true.

With Kobe Bryant still working his way back from a ruptured Achilles and Steve Nash showing signs of extensive aging, there are few players on the Lakers roster, if any, playing better than him. Coach Mike D'Antoni has already indicated he might be the team's best player, speaking volumes about how far Hill has come.

But is his stay atop the Lakers' pecking order a temporary one? Yes, and no.

When Kobe returns, he'll instantly become the focus of all things Lakers, and appropriately so. Hill won't hear his praises sung quite as loudly or incur the word "savior" as often. But he'll still be performing at a high level, like he has for most of the season. 

Fully aware that we must not make Hill into someone he's not, it's also time to recognize that he's not going anywhere either.


What's So Different?

Riddle me this: What is it about Hill's season that you find so impressive?

His rebounding? Unadulterated energy? His sweet Sideshow Bob-esque haircut?

You're not alone. You're also cheering for a version of Hill we've seen before.

He's grabbing 20.8 percent of all possible rebounds when he's on the court, second to only Dwight Howard amongst players, averaging at least 15 minutes per game. Last year, plagued by injuries and inconsistent playing time, his rebounding rate still stood at 20 percent, the ninth-best mark in the NBA.

On offense, he's presently snagging 16.3 percent of second-cha...

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