Milwaukee acquired Hill from the Cleveland Cavaliers in December in the hopes that he would provide backcourt depth and veteran leadership. By the time the playoffs rolled around, however, Hill was becoming an unsung hero for the Bucks.
Hill averaged 14.2 points per game during Milwaukee’s five-game victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He shot close to 60 percent from the field and over 47 percent from beyond the arc, providing the Bucks with a third scoring option as Eric Bledsoe struggled.
The 11-year veteran was so impressive during that playoff run that the Bucks felt comfortable allowing Brogdon to sign an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers as a restricted free agent.
Hill is sure to play a pivotal role for the Bucks this season. But what will that role be, exactly?
Firstly, Eric Bledsoe’s most recent injury–which may keep him out through the rest of October–should result in Hill taking the floor as Milwaukee’s starting point guard.
Even when Bledsoe returns, Hill is still a likely candidate to start. He can act as a secondary ball-handler and has the ability to provide floor spacing for Giannis Antentokounmpo.
Hill also has an excellent track record as a defender. Granted, plenty of players are forced to compete when they play for Greg Popovich and the Spurs, but Hill is tireless on the ball. He has averaged better than a steal per game in every season since he entered the league in 2008.
The Bucks lack backcourt depth. Sterling Brown has some ability as a defender, but he is an offensive liability. Milwaukee signed Kyler Korver to add perimeter shooting, and Korver is actually an underrated defender. Wesley Matthews, on the other hand, is a terrible defender
Hill offers more in the way of a total package. He can handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter, and he also guards multiple positions. That fits perfectly in Mike Budenholzer’s system.
This Bucks team is coming off of one of the most successful years in franchise history. Giannis has yet to turn 25, and Khris Middleton is just entering his basketball prime.
However, Milwaukee has done a fantastic job 0f surrounding their core players with effective veterans. Brook Lopez provided stability last season, and the Bucks added his brother Robin for good measure. With Korver and Matthews also joining the roster, there is plenty of experience on this team.
Still, it is Hill that is likely to be one of the most vocal guys in the rotation. There is a reason that the Bucks were so willing to let Brogdon walk and re-sign Hill. The front office clearly feels that he can be a difference-maker both on and off the floor.
Fresh off of an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, the expectations will undoubtedly be “NBA Finals or bust.”
Antentokounmpo holds the keys to success in his hands, but expect Hill to be one of the most important components of this Bucks team on both sides of the ball.