Pacers Draft Kawhi Leonard, Trade Him to Spurs for Indiana Native George Hill
No matter how much you like mid-first round upside, getting proven contributor George Hill for the 15th pick in the 2011 Draft is a big coup for the Pacers. That’s what all the members of the NBA press are saying anyway: Kawhi and the Pacers #42 pick have been traded to the Spurs for the Indianapolis-born, IUPUI legend Hill.
Indy badly — BADLY — lacked back court scoring last season and Hill can provide just that.
Forget a 6’2″ frame that would seemingly relegate him to the point guard position. Hill can both run an offense or break it off and call his own number. Indiana has seldom few ball-handlers capable of that — something that was all-too-evident late in their playoff losses to Chicago when the offense stagnated and no one on the floor could create a good look outside of the system. He can also back up both guard spots and gives the Pacers a nice four-man five-man back court rotation of Darren Collison, Paul George, Hill and AJ Price (UPDATE: … and Lance Stephenson). Not too shabby.
Kawhi Leonard was intriguing and will likely have himself many productive minutes — or, as many as coach Popovich allows — for San Antonio. And I will say that the prospect of either Morris twin in the front court was intriguing. But other than keeping Kawhi, who would back up Danny Granger, Marshon Brooks might have been the best other option. And you would draft him in hopes that he could translate his scoring into the Association.
Instead, you get George Hill — a guy Larry Bird already knows can put the ball in the hole in multiple ways at an efficient clip. He gets to the rack and is a career 45.3% shooter from the floor (something that includes 372 FGAs at an ugly 40.3% clip in his rookie year) and 37.8% from three (again, including 73 attempts at a 32.7% clip in his first season).
This is about as good as it gets at #15 in a weak draft.
Certainly over upside.