Before the 2021 NBA trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers made it apparent they were on the hunt for a veteran ball-handler. For weeks, the Sixers had their eyes on several candidates -- but they were mostly linked to Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Oklahoma City Thunder veteran George Hill.
The 76ers would've taken both players had the Raptors brought their asking price down a bit for Lowry, but Toronto opted to hold onto the veteran ball-handler instead. Although Philly didn't land a starting point guard, they still snagged a much-needed backup ball-handler in George Hill.
Unfortunately, when they traded for Hill a few months back, the veteran guard was dealing with a thumb injury and recovering from surgery. Therefore, he spent a lot of time on Philly's bench when he first arrived.
At this point, Hill is finally a member of the Sixers' rotation. Ever since debuting against the Golden State Warriors on April 19, Hill has been healthy and available for the 76ers. For the last 12 games, Hill averaged 18 minutes of the Sixers' bench. He has just four more games left in the regular season to get fully acclimated with his role before the playoffs are here.
Following Friday night's tight victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Hill offered an update on where he's at in terms of comfortability with his role. While it's still a work in progress, it seems Hill is embracing the not-so-new challenge in his career.
“I’m still getting in shape, trying to find my rhythm, and trying to find my role here,” Hill explained. “It’s been a little up and down, but it’s something I’m used to my whole career of just coming in and trying to find a way and figuring it out. It’s taking a little longer than expected, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
The Sixers became Hill's eighth franchise since getting drafted in 2008, so he's no stranger to learning new systems. However, this time the situation is slightly different. While Hill has been traded mid-season on several occasions before, he joined the Sixers during a condensed schedule while recovering from an injury.
By the time the regular season wraps up, Hill would have just played just 16 total games if all goes right and he stays healthy. Whether he's ready or not, Hill will play a key role off the bench in the postseason since he's battle-tested in the playoffs. While he's trending in the right direction, it seems Hill still has a lot to do and learn before Philly's 2021 playoff run, beginning this month.