After it became evident to the Philadelphia 76ers’ front office that trading for Kyle Lowry for the right price wasn’t in the cards, then the team shifted gears and acquired George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team trade. However, there haven’t been any returns from that deal yet.
Hill was recovering from a thumb surgery at the time of the trade occurred and recently the Sixers’ head coach Doc Rivers made comments about Hill’s potential 76ers’ debut. The quote below is from Derek Bodner of The Athletic.
Rivers on Hill’s thumb surgery: “I had that same injury. That’s not anything you mess around with. Just one whack, you may not get injured, but the pain is excruciating because the nerves are so raw. So we’re gonna try to be as tentative as possible with his injury.” https://t.co/s4g8d3iGHY
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) April 6, 2021
What does Hill’s long term recovery mean for the Philadelphia 76ers?
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While this is certainly the right approach to take with a 34-year-old 3-point shooting point guard, the timing of the injury/recovery could be very harmful to the playoff run. It’s not from Hill’s end who is a veteran who can fit into most NBA schemes.
The problem comes with Philly’s second unit. Inserting Hill into the bench unit will change the dynamics drastically and probably in a good way for the long term. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need some time to adapt to a new lead ball handler.
I’ve already written about how Hill will help Shake Milton and his 3-point shooting, but it will take Milton and the rest of the bench unit time to adjust to a new primary ball handler. That will take multiple games to build up that chemistry.
However, with the regular season ending in May and no return in sight, it could be bad for the team going into the playoffs. Especially if he returns with only five or 10 games left in the regular season.
Hill should take his time returning from injury, but if it takes most of the remainder of the season, it could spell trouble for the Philadelphia 76ers’ chemistry during the playoffs.