George Hill: Rhythm and Jazz

George Hill has suffered his fair share of injuries this year, but his impact is undeniable.

When the Jazz traded for George Hill in the off-season, they filled a giant void at the Point Guard position, something the organization has desperately needed since the tumultuous departure of Deron Williams. Although Hill wasn’t the only acquisition in the postseason for the Jazz, he was by far the most impactful addition to the team. He provides so many different things for this team — pushing the ball up the court, being a pest on the defensive end, dishing out assists and hitting timely shots. In short, Hill elevates this team from being a difficult and scrappy group, to being a terrifying and dominant adversary.

Even though Hill’s only played 16 games this season — he's had one unfortunate injury after another — his impact on the court is staggering. Let’s look at some of the most eye-catching differences between when he’s on the court, as opposed to when he’s not. Per, the Jazz have an Effective Field Goal percentage of .557 when Hill is controlling the offense and .515 when he’s absent. The difference here is minimal at best — a +.042 differential to be specific. Nonetheless, this indicates that, when Hill plays, the ball is finding the open shot more often and that his teammates are finding their spots and taking shots in rhythm.

The Jazz are assisting on 57.4 percent of their shots with Hill on the court and 51.8 percent when he’s on the bench or out of the game entirely — a difference of +5.6 percent. When Hill sat for extended amounts of time, the Jazz often stood around on offense, looking to find their own shots. Although Quin Snyder got the Jazz back to moving the ball around in their half court sets (instead of relying on isolations) after a few games, they continued to be terrible at taking care of the ball, racking up exorbitant amounts of turnovers — they averaged 16.0 without Hill and 13.7 when he was in the lineup. George Hill is paramount to the Jazz's Offensive Rating.

They are currently ranked 13th overall in the NBA at 108.2, but, when Hill’s on the floor, the Jazz are tied with the Toronto Raptors at 115.4, matching the third best Offensive Rating in the NBA. when he’s not on the floor, the team's Offensive Rating dips to a mere 106.5, which isn’t terrible, but that’s .26 percent behind the Detroit Pistons, who own the 21st spot in the NBA. On the defensive end, George Hill reinforces an already stellar defensive team — the Jazz's Defensive Rating is ranked 4th best in the NBA at 104.6. When he’s on the court, the Jazz hold their opponents’ Effective Field Goal Percentage to .453 a game and .487 when he’s not available. When Hill is on the court, the Jazz are grabbing 81.7 percent of their Defensive Rebounds and 76.9 percent when he’s not. That 3.8 percent difference may not stand out on the stat sheet, but every little bit helps. As a team, the Jazz don’t steal the ball all too often. In fact, their steal numbers fall from 8.1 percent a game, to 6.8 percent; however, that doesn’t mean the Jazz don’t force turnovers.

Without Hill, they force turnovers 12.8 percent of the time. With him, they force turnovers 14.5 percent of the time, whilst holding opponent teams to a spectacular 98.2 Offensive Rating per game — 106.8 when Hill’s injured.

Hill is one of the best acquisitions the Jazz have picked up in recent memory, and, although his time on the court has been sporadic thus far, his impact is undeniable. Without Hill, the Jazz can't catch up to the elite Point Guards of the league — Shelvin Mack gives it his all, but he’s not quick enough, and Dante Exum makes a valiant effort, but he’s too inexperienced. Without Hill, the Jazz have no urgency to run the ball up the floor — which might seem absurd as they already have the slowest pace in the NBA — and get easy baskets after defensive stops. Without Hill, the Jazz throw possessions away too frequently. Without Hill, the Jazz can’t make a deep run into the playoffs. To make a long story short, when Hill is on the court, good things happen; he was the final piece of the puzzle that lifted a franchise from its monotone blues, to a swinging and dancing rhythm called Jazz.

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