Pacers Draft Kawhi Leonard, Trade Him to Spurs for Indiana Native George Hill

No matter how much you like mid-first round upside, getting proven contributor George Hill for the 15th pick in the 2011 Draft is a big coup for the Pacers. That’s what all the members of the NBA press are saying anyway: Kawhi and the Pacers #42 pick have been traded to the Spurs for the Indianapolis-born, IUPUI legend Hill.

Indy badly — BADLY — lacked back court scoring last season and Hill can provide just that.

Forget a 6’2″ frame that would seemingly relegate him to the point guard position. Hill can both run an offense or break it off and call his own number. Indiana has seldom few ball-handlers capable of that — something that was all-too-evident late in their playoff losses to Chicago when the offense stagnated and no one on the floor could create a good look outside of the system. He can also back up both guard spots and gives the Pacers a nice four-man five-man back court rotation of Darren Collison, Paul George, Hill and AJ Price (UPDATE: … and Lance Stephenson). Not too shabby.

Kawhi Leonard was intriguing and will likely have himself many productive minutes — or, as many as coach Popovich allows — for San Antonio. And I will say that the prospect of either Morris twin in the front court was intriguing. But other than keeping Kawhi, who would back up Danny Granger, Marshon Brooks might have been the best other option. And you would draft him in hopes that he could translate his scoring into the Association.

Instead, you get George Hill — a guy Larry Bird already knows can put the ball in the hole in multiple ways at an efficient clip. He gets to the rack and is a career 45.3% shooter from the floor (something that includes 372 FGAs at an ugly 40.3% clip in his rookie year) and 37.8% from three (again, including 73 attempts at a 32.7% clip in his first season).

This is about as good as it gets at #15 in a weak draft.

Certainly over upside.

Tags: George Hill

  • Joe

    That four man rotation is a touch small, isn’t it. And where does that leave Larry’s best player on the roster, Lance Stephenson.

  • pacejmiller

    I love this move. And I hope there are more coming.

  • @Pacers_Chants

    The second year in a row Larry Bird has hit a home run in the draft with the situation the Pacers were in.

    What you love about Hill, in addition to the shooting and versatility, is that he comes with three years of coaching by the master, Gregg Popovich. He comes with three seasons of learning professionalism and class in what has been the NBA’s model franchise for over a decade. He brings three springs of playoff experience.

    And if it means the end of A.J. Price, who was just brutal, then all the better.

    Welcome home, George. IUPUI’s finest.

  • Derek

    I wanted Derrick Williams dang it.

  • JRC

    Does this mean the Pacers can finally jettison Brandon Rush. He frustrates me like no other Pacer.

  • Chris D.


  • russ

    Can we get Kyle Singler Duke?

  • Jake

    Like the move as well. Hill will be a great leader on the 2nd squad and pushing Collison to keep claiming the starting spot. We do need to move Rush along. I like Jones on the wing for his D. Could see Rush being moved in a package for a true 4, taking on some salary.

  • Rob

    I love this trade. Hill actually wants to be in Indy and I’m sure we can resign him for a reasonable amount since he wants to stay home. If we can trade Rush for a solid vet in the front court that would be a great move for the Pacers. It seems like there are some teams who see Rush’s potential and are interested in dealing for him. I am tired of watching potential. Three years is enough time to learn how to play in the NBA. All we need now is a solid PF to either back-up Hans or start and Hans off the bench. Besides that, there is a lot to look forward to with the top 8 of DC, PG, Granger, Psyco T, Roy, Hill, Dante & Foster.

  • Justafan

    Guys, coming from a Spurs fan, you’s got a great deal. George Hill is a great kid, gym rat, hit the gym after every home game… etc. One thing that stopped him from being a better scorer with us was that he was often the 4th/5th option on offense. In the games he played without our ‘big 3′ he averaged like +20 ppg. He’s not a great creator for others but he is a really good scorer. Massively high character guy, and once he settles in you fans will see how much of a great person he is. You can ask any Spurs fan, how they feel about George Hill and 99% will say that they didn’t want to trade him.

    Collison, George, Granger, Hansborough, Hibbert, Hill is a very solid core to build around. I always did like Indiana haha

  • D

    That’s pretty rough on Rush. He’s only had half a season with a real coach. Its no wonder his play was never consistent under O’Brien…neither were his minutes or role in his “system”

  • Bill Zink

    This is huge. We come into a weak draft, and end up with George Hill. Sweet!

  • JV

    This was a great move. Getting Hill. He gives us something we were definitely lacking, it adds depth which now makes our bench real solid, and makes the scoring all around better with better offense. 15 is a bad spot to pick from in any draft, especially this one. Great move for a couple of draftee rights. Let’s not forget another move last night. Officially making Vogel head coach and hiring Brian Shaw, a top-flight assistant, as associate head coach.

  • JV

    This also gives the Pacers the luxury of signing perhaps another big man to contribute or deal for one. The Pacers future is insanely bright right now.

  • Abe the Hoosier

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Vogel has not officially been hired yet, nor war Shaw named an associate head coach. Those are things that are being discussed, maybe even likely, but by no means a done deal.

  • Tad

    This is the best deal the Pacers could possibly hope for in a weak draft. George Hill fills the need of a scoring guard who can also effectively defend the opposing team’s top guard. The best part is that he can split his minutes between the point guard and shooting guard. If I were to guess I would say Hill will start at the shooting guard and Paul George will now become the Pacers sixth man, backing up both Hill and Danny Granger. Once Paul George demonstrates an ability to consistently score, Collison could move to be the sixth man. The Hill-George combination could be nasty defensively and is a definitely a big coup by Larry Bird. I love it.

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