Lakers season wrap: Jordan Hill pushed to return, help in playoffs

Lakers center Jordan Hill blocks a shot by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili in the second half of Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Jordan Hill played just 29 games for the Lakers this season, suffering a “season-ending” hip injury on Jan. 6 against the Denver Nuggets.

Despite surgery and a six-month prognosis, Hill made it all the way back in time for the Lakers’ four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs.

“I feel great. It probably was the smart thing to keep it rest but I felt good about it,” Hill said after his exit meeting with the team. “I just wanted to play, definitely in the playoffs.”


Hill said he still wasn’t quite himself yet but was strong enough to return to the court.

“It’s definitely not 100%, but it’s good enough for me to go out there and continue to do what I do,” he said. “It’s not going to be back originally where it [was] but it’s not going to stop me from doing what I do.”

In 15.8 minutes a game through the regular season, Hill averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. In three postseason appearances, the forward/center averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 10.3 minutes.

“I just want to play. I just want to be out there. I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to -- rebound, defend, shoot the ball well,” he said.

Hill’s minutes dipped a bit early in the season when Coach Mike D’Antoni took over.

“It was definitely frustrating,” said Hill. “My minutes slowly started to drop until they were gone. What was going through my head was, ‘What did I do wrong?’”

At the time D’Antoni was trying out smaller lineups, but eventually he decided the team was better suited taking advantage of its size.

“I just tried to keep my head on high and just waited for my turn to come back,” Hill continued. “When it did, I just ran with it.”

Despite the team’s playoff sweep, Hill still believes the Lakers had a championship roster this past season.

“I definitely believe in this team. We’ve got all the pieces we need. The starting lineup are All-Stars. We have guys on the bench who can produce as well,” said Hill. “Injuries really took a toll on us.”

Hill is under contract with the Lakers for another season at $3.6 million.

It’s unclear how the team will evolve before next season but Hill just wants to be an active part of it.

“I’m an energy guy,” said Hill. “I love the game of basketball. I go out there and I do whatever it takes.”


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