Decoding the Puzzle of Jordan Hill

Take a peek at the Rockets' roster and you'll see one peppered with players the Rockets have taken flyers on, most notably four lottery draftees from the 2009 draft class. Over the past year and a half, the Rockets have acquired Jordan Hill, Terrence Williams, Hasheem Thabeet, and Jonny Flynn with the hope that at least one or two of them will realize their potential and contribute in big ways to the squad going forward.

So, who's going to step up and be the guy who shirks the "bust" label on the Rockets? Of all those guys, it has to be the man who's shown the biggest flashes these past two years, Jordan Hill.

After coming to Houston in the Tracy McGrady deal, Hill wowed fans with an impressive motor and some solid moves in the paint. Surely this guy was set to spring onto the scene and become a starter, there was no stopping him.

However, after the Rockets decided to move Hill to center out of necessity last year, he flopped miserably. Gone was the confident player who made aggressive moves in the paint and swatted shots away with ease. Instead, the old Hill was replaced by a player who rarely knew where to be on defense and piled up the turnovers like it was his job.

So why do I have hope that he can succeed next year? It's simple, with another year of experience, a year of coaching under the best post player of all time, and consistent playing time, Hill is in a perfect position to make the jump from an inconsistent 11th man to one of the better bench bigs in the league. Yes, that's a big leap, but it's one I think he can make.

For years, the Rockets have drafted and traded for the undersized power forward, finding a true market inefficiency in these players. Patrick Patterson, Carl Landry, Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Joey Dorsey are just a few examples of them, so landing Jordan Hill was a departure from the norm.

At 6'10" with solid bouncing ability, Hill was unlike any big man prospect Morey had ever acquired, but he lacked the awareness to dominate as well as he should.

Who knows, there's always the ever-present possibility that Hill could go the way of Tyrus Thomas or Brendan Wright. Still, neither of those players flashed the offensive potential that he did amid their struggles. For young players, it's better to see flashes of brilliance and stretches of complete idiocy than consistent mediocrity. At least in Hill we know that he can do it, the same cannot be said for Hasheem Thabeet or Terrence Williams.

If he can just make the good moments outnumber the bad ones (I've understated how difficult this is), he could be the breakout player of the team next year. Patrick Patterson may be the popular choice for this distinction, but some enthusiasm must be tempered with Patterson until he shows a better one-on-one offensive game. So please Kevin McHale, Free Jordan Hill!

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