Not everyone can be a starter. But that doesn’t mean a player can’t still make an impact.
Take Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill, for example.
Since coming over to the Bucks in a trade last season, Hill, who started 370 of his 385 games from 2012-18, has only come off the bench for Milwaukee. But he’s been key to the Bucks’ second unit, especially this season.
In his first 26 games this year (he missed two contests in late November), Hill is averaging a respectable 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists over 21.5 minutes. If you look at Hill’s per-36 minute averages, his scoring is his best since 2016-17, his assists the best since 2014-15 and his rebounding is the best of Hill’s career (previous high: 5.1/36 in 2014-15).
Hill has been shooting the lights out from all over the court: 53.4% on all his shots, including an NBA-best 50.6% on 3 attempts, and 84.1% from the line. His offensive rating per 100 possessions of 138.9 tops all NBA players (only five players have higher than a 130 ORtg).
What’s been perhaps most impressive about Hill’s season, though, is his rebounding. To be more specific, his offensive rebounding.
Among those getting regular or even semi-regular playing time, Hill is fourth on the Bucks in offensive rebounding percentage (5.2%). Keep in mind that Hill is only 6-foot-3.
Among NBA players who are 6-3 or under, just 10 have an offensive rebounding percentage above 3% (including the Bucks’ Eric Bledsoe, who is at 3.2%) but only Hill is at 5.0% or better.
There’s still a lot of season to be played, but if Hill can keep up this rate he’ll join Sidney Moncrief and Alvin Robertson as the only Bucks players 6-3 or under to have a 5.0+% offensive rebounding percentage. Robertson was the last Milwaukee 6-3 and under player to pull it off back in the 1992-93 season.
Of course, basketball has changed a lot in those three decades. There’s more of an emphasis on 3-point shooting. In 1992-93, the average number of 3-pointers taken by a team in the game was 9.0. This season it’s 33.7.
While what Hill can accomplish would put him in extremely rare company in Bucks history, it’s not exactly been common among other teams either.
Since 1995-96 – when the Raptors and Grizzlies entered the league – a 6-3 or under player has had an offensive rebounding percentage of 5.0% or greater just 18 times – and Russell Westbrook has half of those.
Hill’s 1.8 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes would be right in the middle of the pack of the 18 others who have done it over that span but only Darrell Armstrong, Steve Francis, Kyle Lowry and Westbrook would have posted a higher per-36 average.
He might not be a starter, but don’t overlook what Hill has brought to the Bucks this season. Especially on the offensive end – shooting, passing and rebounding.