Who had the “Beginning of December” in the pool for when George Hill would turn on the Sacramento Kings?
Well, congratulations to anyone who did, and still does. You might be on the verge of winning said contest.
Few expected the Kings to be good this year. Signing Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and Hill always felt more like a culture play than anything else. Randolph is past his prime and not suited to excel on either end of the floor in today’s NBA, Carter is valuable mostly in small bursts, and Hill’s three-year, $57 million pact ($1 million guarantee in Year 3) never represented a superstar acquisition.
But here’s the thing about culture plays: They sometimes make more sense in theory than practice. The veterans need to be on board with the losing and diminished play time for it to work. And though both Carter and Randolph were overpaid in a way that suggests they’ll welcome the mentorship roles, Hill probably thought he was getting more money before the market crumbled. His contract registered as a concession on his part—as him reacting to a deflated number of aggressive buyers.
What would happen when the Kings started losing in volume, and Hill wasn’t playing as much as he did with the Utah Jazz last season?
Nothing good, apparently.
Sacramento has the NBA’s worst net rating in non-garbage time, according to Cleaning The Glass. On Saturday, following their tightly contested loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Hill tweeted the following:
— INDIANA GEORGE HILL (@George_Hill3) December 3, 2017
No one quite knows what this means. Is Hill expressing his ultimate displeasure with the team’s rotation? While no one on the team is averaging 30 minutes per game, he’s seeing less time than De’Aaron Fox and Garrett Temple. He also didn’t play at all during the Kings’ fourth-quarter run on Saturday, during which they outscored the Bucks 28-21, turning the game into an actual competition.
Hill could just be frustrated with his own performance as well. He’s shooting 44.9 percent from beyond the arc but isn’t getting as many shots off or seeming as much time as the primary ball-handler. Even if the Kings were winning, he might be rattled by his marginalized function.
Whatever his tweet is meant to imply, it isn’t good. No way in hell did this just mean he was sad the Kings didn’t win. Something larger is at play, and chances are we’ll see his name bandied about the rumor mill once his trade restriction expires on Dec. 15.