A couple of days ago, news came out from Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune that George Hill, who signed with the Sacramento Kings during the offseason, is upset by the path the team has taken this year. According to Jones, the team has changed direction midseason and decided to tank and play young players as opposed to try and win.
Kings guard and former Utah Jazz guard George Hill sent a tweet last week full of angry face emojis. It was after a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, so it wasn’t difficult to speculate he wasn’t happy with how the season is going.
Hill hasn’t played well, but his poor play this season deserves context. Sources say many of the Kings veterans were rounded up early in the year and told the philosophy has shifted, that the front office isn’t interested in winning and more interested in acquiring a top-five draft pick.
Hill, by all accounts, is a competitive player. He wants to compete, and while he signed with the Kings as opposed to the Jazz or the Nuggets this offseason, he did it with the intention from trying to win, rather than actively trying to lose. More from Jones:
Here’s the issue. The Kings brought in Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter during the offseason and still have Garrett Temple on the roster. These are respected vets who can play. These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.
But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.
Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources And the other veterans can’t be too happy, either. So the Kings have a mess on their hands.
It sounds like there are faults from both parties. Hill actively chose to sign with the Kings, a team that hasn’t been good in over a decade. Yet, the promise was made to him, along with Zach Randolph and Vince Carter, that the team would at least try to be good. So far, that hasn’t been the case. De’Aaron Fox has been inserted as the starting point guard in Sacramento, and the results, as one might imagine haven’t been pretty for Hill, who’s been sandwiched between Fox and Garrett Temple in a three-guard lineup of guards with striking flaws. Hill has been moved to more of an off-guard role in Sacramento, and it’s hurt his production greatly.
Keep in mind though, that this is the same George Hill that the Nuggets were interested in last offseason, with the same source as above in Tony Jones.
The San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets are expressing interest in point guard George Hill, sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) July 1, 2017
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Nuggets remained interested in the point guard. His skills are a blend of what the Nuggets need in a veteran playmaker and what the Nuggets offense also lacks in a spot up shooter.
Hill hasn’t isolated a lot so far this year, but he’s been massively successful when he does.
The same can be said as a pick and roll creator. Hill’s possessions are down this year, and while his effectiveness has been down, imagine getting screens from Nikola Jokic and Kenneth Faried instead of Willie Cauley-Stein and Zach Randolph? Or even with a spaced floor off the bench?
Finally, Jamal Murray hasn’t been the player Denver thought he would be so far as a catch & shoot 3-point shooter. George Hill is that guy at the point guard position.
Hill is still an excellent player. A starting caliber point guard. His efficiency at the position, as well as his stability and defensive skills, would be a welcome addition. He won’t dominate the ball, but in an offense led by Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, and to an extent, Mason Plumlee, that should be a welcome addition to the Nuggets. The prospect of upgrading upon what they already have and adding some veteran savvy and defensive skills should intrigue the Nuggets greatly at this point.
The question, as always, is how to get a player like that to Denver?
To match contracts, one of Mason Plumlee, Wilson Chandler, or Kenneth Faried would need to be a part of the deal. The Kings would surely prefer Chandler or Faried over a third year on a returning contract, but if Denver adds incentives, they may be able to get the Kings to take Plumlee’s contract.
George Hill for Mason Plumlee, Emmanuel Mudiay, and a 2019 lottery protected first round pick.
An intriguing idea, but one that makes things difficult on Denver in a number of ways. For one, Millsap is still out, and while Jokic will soon return, there are a lot of minutes to fill in the front court. Can Jokic, Faried, and Trey Lyles hold down the big man spots until likely March? Maybe. Maybe not.
George Hill and Kosta Koufus for Mason Plumlee, Darrell Arthur, Emmanuel Mudiay, and a 2019 lottery protected first round pick.
This is better for the Nuggets. Koufus is a solid backup center, and while he has limitations, he’s perfect for the length and dollar amount on his contract ($8.4 million in 2017-18, $8.7 million player option in 2018-19). The addition of Darrell Arthur wouldn’t be felt in a negative way on the court this year, and while his veteran presence could be missed in the locker room, the addition of Hill and Koufus should mitigate that.
These are just a couple of ideas on how to get Hill into a Nuggets uniform, but he’s not the only point guard who would excel in Denver as either a starter or bench player. Kemba Walker would be the crown jewel of point guards available, and he would bring a new dynamic to Denver’s lineup. Jordan Clarkson Has been an efficient scorer off the bench for the Lakers. J.J. Barea and Cory Joseph are veteran options that would help the bench offense operate in organized chaos rather than complete chaos.
There are a lot of options for the Nuggets to consider as stop gap options this season, but if Michael Malone and the rest of the organization want an option that limits mistakes, plays within the offense, and excels in his role, they should start by calling about George Hill.
Should the Nuggets pursue George Hill in a midseason trade?
This poll is closed
Yes, go get him now.
Maybe, but for the right price.
No, but they should look at other options.
No, they should stay the course.