Solomon Hill Is One of the Worst Shooters in the NBA and Must Improve to Be Useful

The wonderful Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland recently wrote about Kyle Korver. We all know that the Atlanta Hawks’ wing is one of the premier shooters in NBA history, but Kirksberry’s data and helpful charts show why he was the best shooter in the league this season.

The first stat is easy to look up and obvious: Korver made 221 3-pointers this year, hitting them at an insane 49.1% clip.

For reference: Korver shot better from 3-point range than any Pacer shot this season overall, aside from Ian Mahinmi, who made 55.2% of this attempts.

More impressively, however, Korver scored 1.34 points per shot attempt, which also led the league. Then, by comparing this figure to the league average, Goldsberry showed who the best shooters in the NBA are compared to average.

Not shockingly, the top five includes some of the best shooters of all time and a pair of big men who most dunk or shoot from the restricted area.

But the bottom five include two names familiar to Indiana Pacers fans: Lance Stephenson, in dead last, and Solomon Hill, third from the bottom.

Points Above Average Shooter per 100 Shots

1. Kyle Korver, plus-30.2
2. DeAndre Jordan, plus-17.4
3. J.J. Redick, plus-17.2
4. Stephen Curry, plus-17.0
5. Brandan Wright, plus-16.6

And while we’re here, let’s check in on the worst shooters:

1. Lance Stephenson, minus-20.0
2. Michael Carter-Williams, minus-19.4
3. Elfrid Payton, minus-18.1
4. Solomon Hill, minus-17.3
5. Dion Waiters, minus-17.3

There is probably some schadenfreude to be had by Pacers fans still bitter that Lance Stephenson left in the offseason. Or maybe some relief that he’s gone. Or perhaps just some compassion for a dude now stuck in a bad work environment.

But the more concerning issue is Solomon Hill.

Solo was the only Pacer to appear in all 82 games this year for an injury-riddled team. In that respect, he was a big asset: a slice of continuity in a season that otherwise has almost none. And he certainly had his moments during what was essentially a rookie season on the court for the 23-year-old.

In another way, however, Goldsberry’s numbers show one of the reasons the team struggled so mightily all year.

Solomon Hill simply isn’t a productive or reliable player right now, and he played 450 minutes more than any other Pacer. He played nearly twice as much as George Hill.

And all the while he was out there, he was laying bricks. His 32.7% shooting — on 208 shots from behind the arc — is just unacceptable. Solo has shown some ability to be a good defender, and he can finish in transition at times. But if he wants to be a member of the rotation for a good team, he needs to get that 3-point shooting up to — at least —35%.

And he also needs to improve in terms of making layups. Anecdotally, he seems to just always lack that ability to finish after he gets to the rim and I’m not sure if it’s a lack of focus or just something he sucks at. But he made just 47.7% of shots in the restricted area this year, per NBA.com, and that is an appalling figure.

Really, there is nowhere that he shoots well from.

Solomon Hill

So he is basically starting from scratch this offseason.

It’s probably unrealistic to think Hill can make drastic improvements to his midrange shooting or around-the-rim finishing in one summer, so he should probably just focus on taking 18,000 3-pointers per day and hope to become something of a 3-and-D specialist.

And just for kicks, here is a full list of how all the Pacers players performed this year in terms of points per shot. Nobody is Korver — by any means — but there is some encouraging numbers here from George Hill and Damjan Rudez.

Solomon Hill Pacers Points Per Shot

Relevant GIF

gob throws letter

Key 2014-15 Stats

  • 10.2 player efficiency rating (PER)
  • 8.9 points per game
  • 3.8 rebounds per game
  • 45.0 eFG%
  • 16.1% usage rate

How He Scores

Solomon Hill


The above spiderweb chart shows, via Synergy Sports, what types of possessions lead to his points in 2014-15. (created by Tim Donahue, follow @TimDonahue8p9s)

Given the shooting woes he had all year, it’s no shocker that Solomon Hill seems to struggle to score efficiently in all play types. To be fair, he did O.K. when cutting and on putbacks, both of which pass the eye test of how he can score best. Really, whenever he is just reacting and not thinking about what he is doing, he is more apt to make a good play.

And that bodes somewhat well towards the notion that he was overwhelmed by the speed and competition in his first real year in the league, and that he can improve in the more cerebral parts of the sport as he gains more experience and the game slows down for him.

Solomon Hill

His 2014-15 shot chart, via AustinClemens.com

A loooooot of blue here. Which is fitting, because his shooting this season was both cold and depressing.

Solomon Hill’s Future in Indiana

Solomon Hill probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He is the only thing the Indiana Pacers have approaching a young asset, so he could always be thrown into a trade to sweeten the pot in, say, a move to get rid of Roy Hibbert.

But based upon all the statistical and video evidence, he simply isn’t someone who is coveted around the league. He has a pretty low ceiling of being a rotation guy who can play a bit of defense, and most opposing GMs are probably expecting a less-heralded career than even, say, Dahntay Jones.

So he is more valuable to the Pacers than any other team.

He is under contract for two more seasons before becoming a restricted free agent. The team will hope he can grow within the good culture the franchise has developed and exceed the current, low expectations most around the league have for his future.

Our Top Solomon Hill Stories of the Season