Bucks’ exit interview: George Hill’s veteran presence

Milwaukee Bucks’ backup combo guard George Hill had a solid year coming off the bench, but what can he improve on for next season?

For the second straight year, George Hill provided the Milwaukee Bucks with a steady, veteran presence both coming off the bench and in the locker room. As one of the most valued voices on the roster, he led this team in more ways than one, as they enjoyed success both on and off the court.

Last summer, Hill signed a three-year, $28.7 million contract with the Bucks that basically acts like a two-year deal with just one year remaining. He’s owed $9.59 million in 2020-2021 and then is only guaranteed $1.275 million in the following season (whenever that happens).

At this stage in his career (34-years-old), Hill’s not getting any better and we shouldn’t expect any leaps from him. However, let’s take a look at a few of his strengths and weaknesses.

Strength: Defensive versatility

Hill’s defensive versatility is probably underutilized under Mike Budenholzer’s drop scheme in Milwaukee. Despite standing just 6-foot-3, he’s able to use his long wingspan and high basketball I.Q. to defend point guards, combo guards and even smaller wings. This makes him very useful as he can switch seamlessly on defense.

While defending the ball, his long arms get in the way and can shrink passing lanes. He’s also very adept at getting skinny and sliding over the top of ball screens–a must in Budenholzer’s defensive scheme. When asked to defend bigger players, he depends on that same length considering he’s as skinny as a string bean. His defensive prowess is a big reason the Bucks don’t experience a big drop off in talent when All-NBA defender Eric Bledsoe heads to the bench.

Weakness: Lack of shot creation

There aren’t many holes in Hill’s game, as he’s as steady as they come. As a result, you’ll notice this is the only weakness noted. Sure, he shot 46 percent from downtown while posting an effective field goal percentage of 62.4 percent, but he struggles to create his own shot in Budenholzer’s five-out offense.

Hill mostly depends on rotating defenses, ball screens and sleeping defenders to create his own shots off the bounce. And (probably) rightfully so, as he lacks the same explosion in his mid-30s that he did earlier in his career.

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Strength: Catch-and-shoot threes

An elite catch-and-shoot three-point shooter, Hill was deadly when he was able to spot-up behind the arc, knocking down 50 percent of such shots this season. That’s a huge part of the Bucks’ offense as they depend on their role players to make defenses pay for giving Giannis Antetokounmpo too much attention. The only downfall for Hill is that he didn’t take too many, only averaging 1.6 per game. Still, his ability to spread a defense behind the arc is one of his most valuable skills and should be utilized more heavily moving forward.