His veteran presence at the point of attack was exactly what the inexperienced and young Jazz team needed to get them to the next level.
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Thus far that has proven true. The Jazz have an impressive .750 winning percentage with George in the lineup. The only problem is that George has not been in the lineup consistently enough.
George has missed a large chunk of the season because of injury. The Jazz were 8-3 in games Hill played in heading into Thursday’s game and 11-10 in games that he didn’t. Being better than .500 is still impressive, but it is clear they are a better team with George in the fold.
That is why it was so nice to see him back on the court Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Hill returned Thursday against the 76ers from a 13-game absence because of a sprained big toe. He has missed 21 of the last 25 games for the Jazz, but he returned in a big way against the 76ers.
The point guard woes for Philadelphia has been well documented. Jerryd Bayless is out for the season and Sergio Rodriguez has battled injuries of his own, leaving T.J. McConnell as their only healthy point guard at times.
Hill took full advantage in his first game action in more than four weeks.
Hill did not look to have many limitations against Philadelphia as he picked them apart. In 29 minutes he scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. He knocked down both of his three-point attempts, but shot only 3-of-6 from the foul line.
Hill did more than just score, as he stuffed the stat sheet. He also added eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block with only two turnovers. The rebounds tied a season high, while the steals were Hill’s season-high.
He also had a monster plus-31 plus/minus as the Jazz were excellent with Hill on the court.
The huge point differential should not be a surprise as the Jazz have played great basketball with Hill in the mix. On the season the Jazz have a net offensive and defensive rating of plus-17.2 with Hill on the court compared to plus-2.1 with him off the court.
The Jazz have strong numbers across the board, but with Hill in the lineup they are better across the board.
Their assist percentage, turnover/assist ratio, defensive rebounding percentage, rebounding percentage, turnover percentages and shooting percentages are all better with Hill on the court than off; the only thing the Jazz do better with Hill off the court is offensive rebounding, which is 4.5 percent better.
A large part of that success is due in part to Hill putting together a career season offensively.
Hill is averaging a career-high 20 points per game heading into Thursday’s game thanks to a scorching 62.3 effective field goal percentage; he is combining a career-high in shot attempts with a career-best shooting season.
Hill has fit in seamlessly with the Jazz as their starting point guard. With him back in the lineup they should continue building off their 20-13 record and climb the Western Confernence standings.
The Jazz were expected to improve with the veterans they brought in this offseason, but now look like legitimate contenders in the second tier of the Western Conference behind the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.