Thanks to his size and the fact that lineups across the league are getting smaller and smaller, Solomon Hill can spend minutes on the floor as a stretch-four, but seemingly overnight, some now conclude that his best role is at the power forward position.
Is there any truth to this claim?
One can’t deny Hill generated very little on the offensive end, and for a team often starved for points, Solo became somewhat of an easy scapegoat. As Travis says, it’s too easy to judge a player by his counting stats, so seven points per game as a team’s starting small forward was not surprisingly deemed unacceptable by the common fan.
However, none of this should dismiss his defensive contributions — his primary function. Alvin Gentry has gushed about it, stating how invaluable it was to have a stopper on the wing. With Quincy Pondexter sidelined for the last two seasons, Hill was responsible for slowing down the biggest explosive perimeter players as well as aptly handling the Pelicans versatile switching schemes.
The lack of playmaking and scoring from the small forward position were far from ideal, but Brad Stevens wants to remind everyone we’re living in an era of positionless basketball. Players are either ball handlers, wings or bigs. Considering Hill’s uneasiness in the paint — both from rebounding and scoring perspectives, is it really fair to consider him anything but a wing?
Besides, this upcoming season the Pelicans have plans B and C. If more potent offense is required, expectations are that at least either Pondexter or Darius Miller can fulfill that role. After all, New Orleans reportedly outbid other interested teams by guaranteeing Miller a sum above his veteran’s minimum meanwhile the positive vibes coming out of QPon’s camp are getting harder and harder to ignore.