Jordan Hill Beginning to Get Exposed as Los Angeles Lakers Starting Center

Jordan Hill was a lion at the beginning of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers, with nine double-doubles in the month of November. But he went out like a lamb in December, nose-diving across the board.

Hill’s points-per-game dropped from 13.9 to 10.6, and his rebounding fell from 9.7 to 6.1. His minutes also decreased, from 32.3 to 26.4.

Is the former Arizona Wildcat beginning to get exposed as a starting center in the NBA or did he simply experience a momentary winter slump?

As if making a case for the latter scenario, Hill had a bounce-back game Monday night during a road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Playing without fellow starters Kobe Bryant and Wesley Johnson, the 27-year-old center had his best statistical game of the season, with 23 points and 14 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Hill’s effort in Portland contrasted dramatically with his two previous games, in which he shot 1-of-7 and 1-of-5. In fact, on Sunday during a win against the Indiana Pacers, the Lakers starting center didn’t even appear in the fourth quarter, as Carlos Boozer picked up the crunch-time minutes.

The recent slump has attracted the attention of Lakers coach Byron Scott, who commented, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News: “The intensity’s not there. I don’t know if he’s tired…it could be the league has kind of figured him out as well.”

Selected as the eighth overall draft pick by the New York Knicks in 2009, Hill’s six-year career has been marked by fits and starts. He was traded to the Houston Rockets midway through his rookie season and traded again to Los Angeles during the 2011-12 season.

His crash-and-burn athletic intensity has led to knee, back and hip injuries, while a parade of head coaches has also contributed to glitches in his development.

Hill had a less-than-successful beginning in New...

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