Jordan Hill Proving He’s in the Conversation for NBA’s Most Improved Player

On a team known more for losing than winning lately, Jordan Hill of the Los Angeles Lakers is quietly having a career year. In fact, he’s earning a place in the conversation for the league’s most improved player.

At 6’10” and 235, Hill doesn’t have elite size for a starting center. And, he doesn’t appear to have quite the same crash-and-burn style this season that endeared him to fans in the past. 

But looks can be deceiving. The 27-year-old big man is adding to his game by displaying a more deft shooting touch from mid-range, facilitating for teammates more effectively and still ripping down plenty of boards.

Speaking to Chris McGee for TWC SportsNet at the Lakers facility in September, Hill said: “I’ve been getting a lot of work in on the jumper. You know, I’m a banger, that’s what I’ve been focusing on since I’ve been in the league, but now it’s time to improve my game.”  

Hill’s stat line through 22 games is 13 points, nine rebounds, 1.6 assists and a block in 30 minutes per game. He has the third-most offensive rebounds for all players in the league (82), behind Tyson Chandler (99) and Andre Drummond (94), and the fourth-most double-doubles (10) for centers.

Sure, his numbers have improved from last season when he averaged 9.7 points and 7.4 boards in 20.8 minutes per game—a logical factor of increased playing time and a starter’s role. But is he actually making his team better, and how valid is a consideration for Most Improved Player when a team’s record is 6-16?

Granted, silver linings can seem almost nonexistent for a team that has deteriorated steadily since a guy named Phil Jackson left the building.

But Hill is nonetheless having a positive effect in Los Angeles. leading the team in win shares at 1.6. Additionally, he has the second-highest player effi...

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