Among the many questions about the Lakers' lineup: Who's going to play power forward?
The eighth pick in the 2009 draft worked on his outside shot during the off-season but hasn't necessarily held off several other candidates, Coach
None of them are perfect fits, including Hill, for decidedly different reasons.
Long-shot candidates include veteran
The Lakers begin the season Oct. 29 against the Clippers. D'Antoni might wait until then to pick a power forward.
"I don't foresee anything right now," he said. "I'm not there yet."
Hill makes the most sense, even though his offense has never been refined and he certainly doesn't fit D'Antoni's wish for a "stretch" power forward.
He has never averaged more than 6.7 points in a season, missed all nine of his career three-point attempts and was sidelined most of last season because of a torn labrum in his hip.
But he's aggressive on the boards and has tried to augment that with work on his outside touch.
"I tried to do at least 600-700 shots a day," Hill said. "Me and Kobe [Bryant] talked after the season last year and he felt that I should get some shots this summer, so I did what he suggested. I feel pretty good about it."
Hill was injured last January when Bryant stepped on his foot while stepping back to guard
"I stayed in one spot but my hip kept going," Hill said at the time.
He claims to be pain-free these days. But he can't lay claim to being a starter yet.
"It's up in the air," Hill said. "I don't know what's going on. I'm just out here producing and trying to get better."
Like almost everyone else on the Lakers, Hill's contract expires after this season. He will make $3.5 million, about $2 million below the league average.
Going to China
As if their training camp isn't already somewhat disjointed without Bryant, the Lakers face another disruption next week.
They leave Oct. 11 for an eight-day trip to play exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai.
The Clippers and Miami did it last year in China. Now it's the Lakers' turn, along with
"It's not ideal obviously to go across the world for preseason, come back from a jet-lagged trip to China and play a week later,"
D'Antoni was similarly hesitant about traveling but didn't want to make excuses.
"In January, nobody is going to say, yeah, that China trip just kicked our butt," he said.