The New Orleans Pelicans are gearing up for what could easily be a season for the ages. The Twin Towers of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is set to dominate all post play. However, it’s their small forward position currently being held down by the unknown Solomon Hill that will determine their success.
The Pelicans have both good and great players in Davis, Cousins, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo. But what they’re missing is a perimeter game from the wings and this is where Hill must step up.
Defenses will collapse the paint in an effort to stop Davis and Cousins, and backcourt players will have their hands full trying to contain Holiday and Rondo. That will leave Hill as the primary benefactor. Last season, Hill shot 38 percent from the field including 35 percent from the three-point range.
If the Pelicans are to make and run then Hill must prove himself. For some players, excuses can be given for various reasons. However, Hill will get no such pass. He will be open on most occasions as either Davis or Cousin will draw an extra defender in the post soon as they touch the ball. Once that kick-out happens to either Rondo or Holiday, Hill should expect a quick swing pass for an open perimeter shot. In 2016, Hill attempted six shots per game and even with the addition of Cousins and Rondo that number may increase.
There are rumors floating around that Carmelo Anthony would be a great fit given his outside shooting but the Pelicans would be wise to not pay that much or offer up their younger players in a deal for Anthony.
Another area where Hill must show his worth is on the defensive end of the floor. While critics have slandered Rondo for his tactics over the last two years, if focused he can become a point of attack that he was with Boston. Holliday is not bad himself but the heart of the Pelicans defense starts in the paint. What Hill must focus on if he’s having an off-shooting night is stopping the player in front of him.
The chips are not stacked against Hill having a productive season. In fact, everything is falling into place for him to be successful. All that’s being asked of Hill is to hit the open shots that are sure to come and to be consistent. If not, he may see the bench or the team will implode. While they are good as individuals, Hill is the one that will bring it all together.