Sunday afternoon’s thrashing of the Boston Celtics likely placed members of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a positive general mood and that appears to include LeBron James.
The best player in the world extolled the virtues of “being around guys that want to win and work hard” after the game, and while James had plenty of new teammates to choose from in terms of sending affection, he centered a bit on veteran point guard George Hill.
The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears brings word of James’ quotes to the media and, in addition to praising Hill’s “on-the-ball pressure and just running the team” in his debut, the former Sacramento Kings guard garnered applause in other areas.
“George Hill’s basketball IQ complements me. The guy has been in so many big games. You can tell he knows how to play the game smart. [He’s] big, physical, so we’re definitely going to work well together.”
Hill was a member of the sometimes forgotten Indiana Pacers teams with Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert and others and, prior to that, he spent time in San Antonio learning under Gregg Popovich. While his performance this season in Sacramento left something to be desired in a few days, Hill is certainly a seasoned professional and, unlike the player he is essentially replacing in Isaiah Thomas, the 31-year-old doesn’t necessarily need the ball to succeed and, when engaged, can bring real defensive impact with his length and aptitude.
While James did not address the elephant in the room of Hill’s game when compared to that of Thomas, the “read between the lines” potential is very real here and, even given the small sample, it is easy to see what the pairing can accomplish if and when Hill plays up to his ceiling.
Injuries have cost Hill quite a bit during his career, even as recently as last season when he was fantastic in Utah but limited to only 49 games. If the stars align, though, it is very easy to see why James would value what Hill can contribute and a player with connective tissue and a defensive mindset would go a long way toward helping the Cavaliers toward their ultimate goals.