The Oklahoma City Thunder are entering a unique season. Many expect, for the first time since 2008, the Thunder to be a bad basketball team. To lose a ton of games and hope a few ping pong balls bounce their way. While I still expect this group to be a fun, watchable, and exciting team in the midst of piling up losses, those things can typically get to a veteran.
With George Hill though, there is seemingly no worry about his off the court persona throughout what might be a season full of losses. For starters, he understands there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light? The March 25th NBA Trade deadline when he presumably will be on one of the many contenders in the 2020-21 NBA season.
So why is the sharpshooting veteran perfect for the current iteration of the Thunder?
George Hill has a rare trait in the NBA. He is a respected veteran who can produce at a high level. Especially at something as valuable as perimeter shooting. He also is an incredible leader by all accounts. The most important trait for this OKC team though is his willingness to come off the bench.
I fully expect George Hill to be in the starting lineup as the Thunder start their season on Wednesday in Houston. However, if Mark Daigneault ever did want to see Theo Maledon, Aleksej Pokusevski, Justin Jackson, or even Hamidou Diallo (yes, I heard all of you sigh, stop it) he could do so without creating a locker room malcontent.
The only real downside to Hill is that he has no real room to grow his value. We all know what George Hill will do this season, he is one of the more predictable players in today’s game. He provides value, we have just seen the ceiling already. I would expect nothing more than a pair of second-round picks for his services in March. Anything more would feel like a classic Sam Presti fleecing.
Along the way to that March destination, George Hill will still make a great impact in OKC. He has already spoken highly of the great culture and young players in Bricktown, while those young players and head coach Mark Daigneault have reciprocated praise of Hill and his leadership.
George Hill is an elite shooter, and teams will always need shooting. Especially this year, as the league sees more teams with legitimate playoff expectations than ever before. So enjoy George Hill while he lasts in OKC because soon he will be on a contending team.
What are your expectations for Hill this season, and where would you want to see him traded? Personally, I think he would be great in Dallas.