So... how good WAS Grant Hill?

TheDude1

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Okay, so was talking about this with the young'un @JimboBBN, when discussing the Jordan doc and great players...

For those people who actually saw him play...just how good was Grant Hill, if you take into consideration his injuries? Was he just "good"? Was he VERY good? Was he great, but injuries and lack of good teammates hurt him? Was he an all-time great in terms of how good he was who just got hit with terrible luck?

For perspective...

Before his injury season, Hill had career averages of 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game which at that point, had only been matched by Oscar Robertson through six seasons. He led his team every year pre-injury in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Hill joined Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history to lead their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists more than once. The complete list of players to roll up more than 9,000 points, 3,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 500 steals and 200 blocks through their first six NBA seasons is three names long: LeBron James, Larry Bird and Grant Hill. He led the league in triple doubles for a number of seasons, having nearly 40% of the triple doubles of the entire league during one season. He was an elite defender. He was the leading vote getter in the NBA All Star game as a ROOKIE, the first player in any of the major sports to do that, getting more votes than Jordan, who had just returned from his baseball retirement. He made the All-Star team every year there was an All-Star game in his pre-injury career, was a top 10 vote getter for the MVP voting every year pre-injury (coming in 3rd behind Malone and Jordan one year), and was inducted into the HoF a few years ago.

Magic Johnson was a fan....


And Grant's 33 best plays...


Oh, and since RealGM lets you sort by teammates, the five teammates he played most with pre-injury were...

Lindsey Hunter
Joe Dumars (in the last three season of his career)
Terry Mills
Don Reid
and
Jerome Williams


BTW, for folks who don't know, his ankle injury was insane. He developed a terrible staph infection at one point that nearly killed him. He missed all but four games in his first season with Orlando, played in only 14 and 29 games his next two seasons, and then missed the entire 2003-04 season, If you ever read about his injuries, they are pretty stunning, and the fact that he still came back and played for a decade is pretty awesome.

So... hypotheticals are always fun, injuries are fascinating to try to account for, and we are all stuck without sports.

For those who SAW him, how good was he?
 
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schoonerwest

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Almost. I mean, roughly 160% of Manning's scoring, 150% the number of rebounds, and 280% as many assists, but sure. Almost.
I was going for this stat line...

22.8 - PPG
6.6 - RPG
2.6 - APG
1.4 - SPG
1.3 - BPG

But yes, your point is taken. He's just another "what if" that seemingly never got the respect he deserved.
 
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schoonerwest

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But anyways, back on topic, Grant Hill was THE MAN back when he first got to the league. He even was when he was still at Duke. I was in 8th grade when they played Arkansas for the title and remember arguing with kids and taking bets on who was gonna win that game. He was so popular when he did get to the league that even MTV was doing segments on him. It's a shame he got hurt.
 

TheDude1

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I was going for this stat line...

22.8 - PPG
6.6 - RPG
2.6 - APG
1.4 - SPG
1.3 - BPG

But yes, your point is taken. He's just another "what if" that seemingly never got the respect he deserved.
I feel like he did at the TIME. As you said, he was the absolute MAN those first six or so years. Part of that was skill, and part of that was his image and demeanor... he was so easy to root for and like, he seemed so clean cut and upstanding... you know? He was so damn popular.

He always had the issue of not winning enough, but man, his team when he was at his best... they were not good. Like, his best teammate was Dumars, who was at the very end of his career. It isn't just his injuries that make it muddy... it was his teammates, and specifically when in his career he played with them.

But the injuries, and then his "average" decade after that...
 
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TheDude1

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Is Grant Hill a top 50 player all time? That is the real debate we were having with our friend.
I don't think *I* was having that debate... that was all Jungle. Not sure where the Top 50 goalpost came from:)

Yeah, I think you can't say he is, in absolutes. He doesn't have the titles, and he doesn't have the overall career numbers.

But if you look at his performance pre-injury, and the teams he was on in that time... like, if you try to take into consideration all of the intangibles... I think it becomes more complicated. If Magic Johnson had played the most with Joe Dumars and Lindsey Hunter and Terry Mills and Don Read and Jerome Williams, instead of with Kareem and Worthy and Byron Scott and Rambis, would he be what he is thought of today? I mean... I'm not even sure who Jerome Williams and Terry Mills ARE.

In terms of raw skill... like, take everyone at their prime and put them on a court... is he Top 50? I don't know. If not, he's awfully close. I mean, I don't know enough about Sam Jones and Hal Greer and Dave DeBusschere, but I would wager Grant was better than all of them, and everything else being equal, I'm not sure that he's any worse than Kevin McHale or Willis Reed or Clyde Drexler.
 
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JimboBBN

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I don't think *I* was having that debate... that was all Jungle. Not sure where the Top 50 goalpost came from:)

Yeah, I think you can't say he is, in absolutes. He doesn't have the titles, and he doesn't have the overall career numbers.

But if you look at his performance pre-injury, and the teams he was on in that time... like, if you try to take into consideration all of the intangibles... I think it becomes more complicated. If Magic Johnson had played the most with Joe Dumars and Lindsey Hunter and Terry Mills and Don Read and Jerome Williams, instead of with Kareem and Worthy and Byron Scott and Rambis, would he be what he is thought of today? I mean... I'm not even sure who Jerome Williams and Terry Mills ARE.

In terms of raw skill... like, take everyone at their prime and put them on a court... is he Top 50? I don't know. If not, he's awfully close.
After scrolling through ESPNs most recent list (just came out this week), I wouldn’t have him top 50. There’s guys like Gary Payton, Clyde Drexler, Pau Gasol, and Vince Carter all above 50 or 60. I wouldn’t have him over any of these guys, would you?
 

TheDude1

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After scrolling through ESPNs most recent list (just came out this week), I wouldn’t have him top 50. There’s guys like Gary Payton, Clyde Drexler, Pau Gasol, and Vince Carter all above 50 or 60. I wouldn’t have him over any of these guys, would you?
Above Drexler and Gasol, yes, I think. Maybe not Payton. VC... hmmm... I'm not sure. Carter was a BEAST for a long, long time.
 

IUfanBorden

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Is Grant Hill a top 50 player all time? That is the real debate we were having with our friend.
He would have been. That dude was nasty. Really, really underrated as a college player, as well. Played in the shadows of Lat and Hurley.

I have zero doubt that if not for injuries, hes a Top 50 dude...MOF, I'd go as far as saying Top10.
 
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Villian07

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Yea I think he has to go into the what of category bc of the injuries unfortunately.

Uve already proven he was an absolute stud his first six years, pre injury, but likewise that has been mentioned is his post injury career which was pretty mediocre, which is totally understandable. Shame he got injured and we as basketball fans never really got to see how great he could have become, especially if he ever got to a team with some help around him.

Def a class act and an upstanding man who was easy to root for, even if he went to duke ~
 

Villian07

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We should start a thread all time best players to have their careers hampered by catastrophic injuries. Greg oden comes to mind as well as Hill. And of course Len Bias although it wasn’t an injury it was still catastrophic and tragic.
 

dukedevilz

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After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired, someone asked him who the best player he's ever played against, and he said Earl "The Goat" Manigault. NYC streetball legend that became addicted to heroine and other destructive drugs. What could have been. The great legend of The Goat, who was roughly 6 feet even, was the he could touch the top of the backboard and remove coins and dollar bills.

As far as Grant Hill is concerned, top 50 player if he was healthy, no question. He didn't do enough in those six healthy years to merit top 50 status, but he was well on his way.
 

Scotty00

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He was good, real good! What I liked about him was that he seemed to be a great person off the court as well as on the court. I would’ve liked to seen him be a little more mean on the court but the dudes just a good guy. Honestly there’s a lot of players I would want/take over him but if I ended up with him on my team I wouldn’t be mad.
 
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Ipartiedwithhopgood

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I just don't think he was better than Drexler. Sorry. Hill was very good. Drexler's best year's were as good as Hill's best years. And Drexler worked at a high level for over 15 years.

I always thought Drexler was underrated. If you take a look at his #'s you'll be pretty impressed.
 

JayhawkWriter

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I remember watching Grant Hill and he had the flashes of Scottie Pippen circa 1991. He wasn't as good all around as Pippen nor did he have the sustained career that Scottie had due to the injuries, but IF he would have stayed healthy he was definitely a top 50 player. Last check I saw had Pippen at 21...So I think it would be safe to say Hill would have checked in around 30. Also he is one of the few Duke guys I didn't mind rooting for as his game was smooth and pure and his manners and demeanor off the court had him come off as a like-able guy. the anti Lattener if you will.
 

hailtoyourvictor

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We should start a thread all time best players to have their careers hampered by catastrophic injuries. Greg oden comes to mind as well as Hill. And of course Len Bias although it wasn’t an injury it was still catastrophic and tragic.
Derrick Rose
 
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lurkeraspect84

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I think it's safe to say he's top 100 all time. Great character goes a long ways.
 

Silent Banjo

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After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired, someone asked him who the best player he's ever played against, and he said Earl "The Goat" Manigault. NYC streetball legend that became addicted to heroine and other destructive drugs. What could have been. The great legend of The Goat, who was roughly 6 feet even, was the he could touch the top of the backboard and remove coins and dollar bills.

As far as Grant Hill is concerned, top 50 player if he was healthy, no question. He didn't do enough in those six healthy years to merit top 50 status, but he was well on his way.
Manigault is one of those romanticized players whose greatness nobody will ever gauge. While he kicked butt in the Rucker Tournament, that's a far cry from the NBA, with a premium placed on defense. Another playground legend with accolades of greatness and a little more evidence to support his reputation is Raymond Lewis. He came from Los Angeles and was in the Sixers training camp with Doug Collins, who until injury was a very good player. Lewis destroyed Collins in practice and suddenly quit out of disgust because Collins was still tabbed as the starter ahead of him. Sixers took Collins with the first pick in the draft and didn't want to look foolish. Google Lewis, he's a fascinating story.
 
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CentralPoke

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We should start a thread all time best players to have their careers hampered by catastrophic injuries. Greg oden comes to mind as well as Hill. And of course Len Bias although it wasn’t an injury it was still catastrophic and tragic.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
His athleticism wasn't ever what it was after the injury

Grant Hill was an extremely athletic player and he combined that with a very high basketball IQ.
Then became a player with an extremely high basketball IQ that couldn't stay on the court

A better version of Scottie Pippen IMO
But Pippen stayed healthy

Where he ranks?

Can't rank him based on what ifs.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
We should start a thread all time best players to have their careers hampered by catastrophic injuries. Greg oden comes to mind as well as Hill. And of course Len Bias although it wasn’t an injury it was still catastrophic and tragic.
There are players who played in the NBA and even played at a high level but had something holding them back.

I tell people that Lamar Odom could have went down as one of the greatest basketball players in history if he really wanted it.

Difference between guys who did and the ones who didn't isn't always talent.
It is mental. Odom never took care of his body and saw the NBA as a hustle.
 
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SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
Better question. How did a team (Cal) with two Top 7 picks get beat in the first round of the NCAA tournament?
Truthfully don't remember that game.
I don't think I watched it.

Even then those two years they could beat any team in the PAC.
That was when the PAC was just great basketball.
I was in the USMC at the time living in California and paid attention to a lot of that conference. Especially UCLA.


Healthy Grant Hill vs Jason Kidd

Can't go wrong either way.

Glenn Robinson was one hell of a player but don't know what Milwaukee was thinking.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
Yeah, that was a strange call, even at the time.
I am trying hard to think what their team was at the time.
Think Vin Baker came after him.
I remember they had Alvin Robertson in the early 90's but believe he was gone by then.


The way I like to play basketball. I would have drafted Grant Hill first
I think Jason Kidd is probably a better player for most styles. At this time I was wondering why teams weren't trying to stretch the floor.
I would have used Hill as a point forward.
Hopefully get a player like Marcus Camby to add length and athleticism. Believe Camby came out the next year.

That 1992 Olympics watching Toni Kukoc opened my eyes to that style of basketball.
 

Ipartiedwithhopgood

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I am trying hard to think what their team was at the time.
Think Vin Baker came after him.
I remember they had Alvin Robertson in the early 90's but believe he was gone by then.


The way I like to play basketball. I would have drafted Grant Hill first
I think Jason Kidd is probably a better player for most styles. At this time I was wondering why teams weren't trying to stretch the floor.
I would have used Hill as a point forward.
Hopefully get a player like Marcus Camby to add length and athleticism. Believe Camby came out the next year.

That 1992 Olympics watching Toni Kukoc opened my eyes to that style of basketball.
Bucks had a terrible roster @ that time. Baker was probably their top player with Eric Murdock @ PG.

A few years later they got Ray Allen, then Cassell and became legit late 90s.