April 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) battles Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) for a rebound in the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won in double OT 114-106. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Andrew Bynum's struggles against the fleet, athletic Oklahoma City Thunder was the opportunity Hill needed. He played more than double his previous combined minutes since becoming a Laker, and delivered with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Hill was active in the paint offensively and defensively and aggressive on the glass.
He was the Jordan Hill that averaged a double-double in 2008-'09 for the Arizona Wildcats.
There's no telling what role Hill will play for the Lakers as they venture into the Playoffs, but certainly his effort against one of the league's premiere teams had to have caught Mike Brown's attention.
So much of NBA success is predicated on circumstance as much as talent. Hill's talent is undisputed, hence the Knicks drafting him at No. 8 in 2009. Circumstance, however, has never been right for him.
Mike D'Antoni was never a coach interested in developing players, a point he famously conceded himself. Hill needing some pro polishing, New York was no fit. His trade to Houston allowed Hill playing time, but
UA alumni have exhibited how important the right situation is for pro success. Sean Elliott was a two-time All-Star selection for the San Antonio Spurs, and a hero of the franchise's first championship in 1999. However in 1993-'94, he languished through a forgettable season with the Detroit Pistons.
Channing Frye's career arc mirrored Hill's through its early phases. Frye was a Knick draft pick whose tenure in New York ended not long after it began. Frye was rarely used in Portland.
A third stop was the charm for Frye, who has flourished as the starting power forward in Phoenix. Will team No. 3 prove similarly fruitful for Hill?
There are obvious limitations for Hill's future potential with Los Angeles. Playing time behind a combination of one of the top power forwards and centers in the league will continue to prove scarce. However, the likely suspension of Ron Artest...sorry, Metta World Peace will open more front court opportunities come the Lakers' entrance onto the biggest stage -- the Playoffs.
So long as Hill continues to make the most of his opportunities though, he'll make the right fit.