The New Orleans Pelicans made their first free agent agreement yesterday with Solomon Hill, a somewhat of an unknown entity. He appeared in 59 games and received a DNP in the other 23 for the Indiana Pacers. After averaging over 29 minutes the year before, his playing time was cut nearly in half.
Despite this and the fairly pedestrian production, Hill was courted by multiple teams. Is there something more under the hood that fans should be excited about? The Bird Writes staff weighs in and hands out their individual grades!
I personally like that the Pelicans "big fish" in free agency is a defensive-minded small forward. Dell Demps managed to contain himself and not blow the newly found cap space like A LOT of other teams. My only concern is whether or not Solomon Hill can manage to produce on the offensive end (seeing as he could be replacing our second leading scorer.)
Solomon Hill is kind of a question mark. He has the size and seems to have the physical tools and intellect to be at least the D in the 3 & D guy we've been looking for. He is noted for having a great work ethic, which is wonderful. However, Monty Williams always praised Marco Belinelli's work ethic so....
To his credit, Hill was special in the playoffs and in limited regular season minutes he flashed a consistent corner three. He has the potential to be what everyone wanted Harrison Barnes to be, but he comes on a pretty good contract for this insane new era. I'm not jumping for joy yet, but I'm prepared to. I'll give the move a B and if we can bring back Frazier and possibly add Nicholson or Jones, but along with Hield and Diallo, I could be talked into giving Dell a solid A on the offseason.
The only reason I didn't give the Solomon Hill signing a flat out F is because he fills a desperate need for the Pelicans on the wing. Beyond that, there are just too many warning signs for me to give Hill, at 12-13 Million per a year, a higher grade. In terms of raw production, he (who averaged 4 points, 1 assist, and 3 rebounds per a game last year) might be the most overpaid player since the rookie salary cap was instituted. Hill played much better towards the end of the season and during the playoffs; however, that was an extremely small sample size to place such a large bet.
I do like Hill's ability to rebound and stuff the stat sheet. Last season, he ranked 18th in rebounding rate out all the 63 qualifying SF's in the NBA. As a starter, he should produce something like 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists per a game. My grave concern with Hill, is that with his newly minted contract, he will not play as hard and thus, his numbers won't translate.
Safe to say, I am highly skeptical about the Solomon Hill signing. I wouldn't be surprised if Quincy Pondexter out plays him next season. I like Hill as a player, but I am worried that too much money and too many minutes will hinder him from becoming the high energy player the Pelicans need.
It seems like Dell missed out on the big name free agents and felt the pressure to make a move. I understand the salary cap has exploded, but Hill hasn't done much to command those dollars.
Solomon Hill sounds really expensive, but in all reality he's not if he can become a league average starter. The problem there is Hill has yet to perform like a league average starter and that should give everyone pause. Dell Demps and the Pelicans front office has had their eyes on Hill for quite a while, this is not a case of falling in love during one playoff series. I hope that Hill can turn his solid stroke at the foul line (83.1% on his career) into a league average stroke (35% or so) behind the arc. If he does, this contract is a steal. If not, he's just a younger version of Dante Cunningham.
A nice move for the Pelicans. I like Hill as someone who can play some small forward and power forward, providing some defensive chops for New Orleans. He didn't do much in Indiana last season, but he showed some glimpses in the playoffs that he could become a 3-and-D player. I think Gentry can help unlock his offensive value while Darren Erman gets another defensive piece on the perimeter. I can dig it.
Solomon Hill has been praised for his work ethic since his days at the University of Arizona. Apparently, that effort paid off handsomely as his wing defense was considered by some to be stronger than that of Paul George. Considering one of Alvin Gentry's most commonly heard gripes was a lack of individual effort, as well as the team's defense was normally abysmal, Hill fills an immediate need.
On the other side of the coin, Hill has been in the league for three seasons and his perimeter shot has not shown the necessary improvement over the course of 3473 minutes. There have been glimpses -- his corner percentage in 2016 and his performances during the final month of the regular season and in the postseason against Toronto -- but it'd be foolhardy to believe the vast improvement in Hill's three-point accuracy was 100% genuine considering the small sample size.
At the end of the day, I can't help but feel that Dell Demps went against his better judgement; he went after a longtime favorite despite the years of off-putting offensive production. Repeatedly we've been told two-way players were the goal, yet now we must hope Hill morphs into any semblance of one.
Solomon Hill is a solid defender who has the size to play multiple positions. He is revered for his intelligence smart guy who can knock down a shot here and there. Definitely an improvement at the 3
Hill was a rumored target for a litany of teams, making this signing both a morale victory for the organization as well as a lucrative on-court pursuit. The former Pacer came on strong late last season, and pacts a punch on the wing that the Pelicans sorely needed. He can toggle between the 3 and 4 spots -- a necessity in today's game -- and will likely fit in swimmingly with the way Alvin Gentry wants to play. Get passed the outlandish dollar figure and you will realize that there is a real player in there somewhere. Good signing.
The signing was fine, but it has room to really pay off. The raw numbers of course aren't anything to be wowed about, but here are some things I like: he has a defensive rebounding rate of almost 13 percent, a near 3:1 assist to turnover ratio and his defensive rating is sub-100. I also like that he's a career 83 percent shooter at the free throw line. If he can improve upon what he did in the postseason this year, I think this could be a smart deal for New Orleans.