In yet another move that seemed odd on the surface, the Los Angeles Lakers re-signed centre Jordan Hill to a two-year, $18 million deal, with the second year a team option. The moves the Lakers made today, the Jeremy Lin deal, the Nick Young signing and now this, signal the end of the hope for Carmelo Anthony to join Kobe Bryant as the stewards of this proud franchise. Even Pau Gasol declined a two year, $20 million deal and is likely to sign with the Bulls.
Are the Lakers destined for another poor season? It seems like it, but they’d better hope it’s horrible because their first round drat pick is slated to go to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash deal as long as it falls outside the top five. The Lakers stunk this season and only ended with pick seven, so losing a top 10 pick is a distinct possibility. The signing of Hill could be seen as a sign they had given up on next season, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case.
Hill was a per-36 beast last season, but due to former coach Mike D’Antoni’s whims was in and out of the starting lineup like a yo-yo. At the end of the season, Hill only averaged 21 minutes a game, which is disappointing considering how well he was able to perform when given minutes. Here are his numbers from last season.
So, even though his minutes were throttled by D’Antoni, Hill was a still a 12 team player by the end of the season. With the Lakers’ frontcourt as thin as a sheet of A4, the minutes are there for Hill to be a break out player in 2014-15.
Hill will also have a lot of motivation to put in a big year, with that $9 million team option dependent on the level of his play. Even if the Lakers have no intention of exercising that option, Hill will be playing to be an unrestricted free agent and a big season could turn into another big payday.
Last season, based on per 36 numbers, Hill was the 43rd ranked player in fantasy. I don’t think he’ll get 36 minutes, but 32 minutes is definitely a realistic goal for this coming season. If he plays 32 minutes, here is what I think his numbers will look like.
Pretty impressive numbers, you’d have to agree. If Hill can do what I think he’s capable of, he’s a top 80 player and I think he’s a better fantasy option than Randle for next season. I feel a lot of the hype will be for Randle, so you may be able to sneak Hill under everyone’s radar and get yourself a bargain. Just remember where you heard it first.