2014-15 Player Review: George Hill’s Career Year Proves His Critics Wrong

Apr 12, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) brings the ball up court against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Oklahoma City 116-104. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) brings the ball up court against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Oklahoma City 116-104. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

George Hill set career highs in scoring, shooting percentage, assists, and rebounding this season. He was the Indiana Pacers most dynamic player and won multiple games for them with his clutch play down the stretch. Had he played during the first half of the year like he did after returning from injury, Hill likely would have made the All-Star team.

There was nothing not to like — and it stood out all the more since he had a down season the prior year while mostly serving as a spectator in an offense that featured Paul George and Lance Stephenson on the perimeter.

If this is the new George Hill that the Pacers will see on the court going forward then there is reason to believe they can compete in the Eastern Conference again next season.

In an article aptly titled “No Reason to Upgrade at Point Guard”  on Hoops Habit, Shane Young did a good job showing how Hill’s numbers stacked up against some other marquee point guards.

George Hill
George Hill /

Essentially, he scored nearly as well as Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard, while playing much, much better defense, rebounding his position and protecting the ball better.

This isn’t to say he is better than either of those two, but he thoroughly outpaced the expectations of those many Pacers who wanted him gone after his down year in 2013-14.

It was no coincidence that the team went on its best run of the season — winning 11 of 13 games — right after he returned to full strength at the start of February.

The only issue for Hill was the obvious one: health.

He has never missed much time before, however, so it’s sensible to assume this was one bad injury that lingered rather than something that will become the norm going forward.

All in all, it was an awful season for the Pacers. Paul George got hurt, David West looked old, Roy Hibbert fell down often literally and metaphorically, and they lost their final game to miss the playoffs.

But George Hill was the bright spot.

He gave some hope that the team’s plans not to tank and trade the veterans and rebuild around Paul George might pay off soon with another trip back to the Eastern Conference finals — or better.

With the George Hill we saw this season and a healthy PG-13, there is no reason to think this squad can’t again compete with the Wizards, Raptors, Hawks, and Bulls of this world.

Relevant GIF

george hill
george hill /

Key 2014-15 Stats

  • 21.5 player efficiency rating (PER)
  • 16.1 points per game
  • 5.1 assists per game
  • 4.2 rebounds per game
  • 54.1  eFG%
  • 23.8 usage rate

How He Scores

Take a look at how there scoring this year lined up with the ways they did before the season. Note any major changes and factors why.

GHill /

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

George Hill ran the pick and roll a lot and he ran it well. More than a third of all his plays and points came from this action. This is a big change from last year when a much larger percentage of his points were coming off of spot-up shots, as he so often stood around watching Paul George and Lance Stephenson (try to) create in isolation.

I have no doubt that this was a big reason that Indiana’s offense was so good with him out there running real sets as opposed to last year when the ball was much more stagnant.

george hill
george hill /

George Hill’s 2015-15 shot chart, via AustinClemens.com

George Hill finished well at the rim and shot decently from 3-point range. His 35.8% overall from deep was actually the lowest he has shot in a season since his rookie year, but he was more streaky than down overall. He did seem to hit 3s in bunches — and often at critical times — so we can probably presume that the small downtick was due to lingering lower-body injuries and not playing long enough this year to really get into a good rhythm.

George Hill’s Future in Indiana

George Hill has two years left on his contract, and he will make $8 million in each. Just 12 months ago, that number seemed a bit high, but now it feels like a bit of a steal. Hill has reasserted the fact that he is a versatile, veteran, gritty guard who has a flair for big plays late in games. He is playoff hardened (68 postseason appearances) and isn’t shaken by any competition or any stage.

He is not — and never will be — Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook, but he he competes and produced better than anyone else on the roster this season. He can be a defensive menace and knows Frank Vogel’s system perfectly.

After a lot of ups and down over the past few seasons, Hill’s future with the team is all but guaranteed and, finally, both the fans and the team can agree that his future looks bright.

Our Top George Hill Stories This Year

Next: Solomon Hill Clowns George Hill's Blonde Haircut

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds