Ranking 5 Best Potential Fits for Jordan Hill Trade with Los Angeles Lakers
Jordan Hill might not be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers for much longer, and a few teams have emerged as the primary candidates who are vying for his services.
The original rumor, as reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, revolved around the Brooklyn Nets, but Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles revealed that the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks have gotten into the action as well.
For a full timeline of the rumors, as well as any updates, you can check out John Dorn's article on the subject for Bleacher Report.
However, in this slideshow, I'm not concerned about the rumors, what teams can offer or how likely the Lakers are to move the big man.
"Finally, an easy decision for the Los Angeles Lakers to make," writes B/R's Dan Favale, referring to the trade, but things are tougher from the other perspective.
We're talking about how much he helps the other team in the deal, regardless of the ease of acquisition. In other words, how badly is he needed by the Nets, Suns, Mavericks or anyone else who should enter or has entered into the conversation?
That's the basis of these rankings, which count down toward the No. 1 team that should be making a big play for Hill's services.
Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from Basketball-Reference and are current as of Feb. 19.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Why in the world do the Cleveland Cavaliers have any interest in acquiring Jordan Hill?
Despite the illogical nature of such an acquisition, ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the "Cavs have strongly emerged as team trying to trump BKN and acquire Jordan Hill from Lakers."
The only explanation I can think of is: It's the Cavs, so of course. Their general manager, David Griffin, told Bob Finnan of The News-Herald & The Morning Journal, “We’re going to buy to the extent that it makes us better for the long haul."
Cleveland needs a lot of help. It could use a more consistent backcourt scorer and ball-handler, another solid wing player and a scoring threat in the frontcourt. A limited rebounding specialist and physical presence is just about last on the list of priorities.
Not only do Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao make for a solid pair of starting big men, but there are backups galore. Anthony Bennett has started to look more confident as of late, and Tyler Zeller needs to receive more minutes.
Adding Hill into the mix is nonsensical, especially since Cleveland would be giving up an asset in order to acquire him.
Then again, there is one sensible explanation.
Can you imagine how dazed and confused opponents would be after staring at the combined hair power of Hill and Varejao?
4. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns may be dropping out of contention for Jordan Hill's services, per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, but that doesn't make them a worse landing spot for the dreadlocked big man than the Cavs.
Unlike the Cavaliers, the Suns could actually use another piece in the frontcourt.
Right now, Phoenix is getting by with the Morris twins and Channing Frye at power forward and Miles Plumlee and Alex Len at center. That's a set of players who are filled with inexperience and a penchant for stepping out to the perimeter rather than banging around in the paint.
Hill is no Pau Gasol, who would be the perfect acquisition for the desert-based organization if he were saddled with more than a one-year contract. However, Hill is still a capable scorer on the interior and brings a lot of toughness to the paint, particularly on the glass.
Rebounding is undoubtedly Hill's biggest asset.
He's averaged 12.9 boards per 36 minutes during the 2013-14 campaign, and that's not an aberration. It's actually a slight dip from last year's mark, and he's able to thrive because he makes an impact on both ends.
Phoenix doesn't need much help on the offensive glass, but its 72.7 defensive rebounding percentage leaves it ahead of only the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Losing Hill would cause the Lakers to challenge Milwaukee for the No. 30 spot, but the Suns would simultaneously rise up the rankings and stop allowing so many second-chance points.
3. Dallas Mavericks
It's a double whammy for the Dallas Mavericks.
Not only do they need help in the areas that Hill specializes in, but the frontcourt needs more depth regardless.
First, the rebounding.
The Mavs are ranked No. 23 in both offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding percentage, which is obviously problematic. They struggle to gain extra possessions and have trouble stopping opponents from doing exactly that.
Offensive rebounding isn't quite as troublesome, simply because a perimeter-oriented team is naturally going to score fewer second-chance points. But the other category is egregious for a team that is hoping to contend and already playing some of the least-efficient defense in the NBA.
Second, the Mavericks need help scoring in the paint. Hill is a tough and steady contributor there, though he'll never stand out as an offensive stud. That said, "tough and steady" would be nice for a Dallas squad that barely checks into the top half of the NBA for points in the paint, according to TeamRankings.com. Plus, many of those come on drives to the hoop, not plays that are initiated down low.
On top of that, Dallas just doesn't have much above-average help in the frontcourt.
Dirk Nowitzki is having a fantastic season, and both Samuel Dalembert and DeJuan Blair are having solid but unspectacular campaigns. But beyond that...yikes.
Brandan Wright is an efficient, albeit limited, offensive player, and no one else deserves to have even the tiniest spot in the rotation. Thing is, none of the aforementioned players—Dirk excluded—should play major minutes. They all have glaring weaknesses, which is why it would be best to acquire a player who can shore up one of the team's overall deficiencies.
2. Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers still need help adding depth, particularly in the frontcourt.
Joel Freeland and Thomas Robinson are combining to average 24.7 minutes per game, and it would be highly beneficial for Rip City if some of that playing time could be handed to a more useful player.
You know, one like Jordan Hill.
Portland needs defensive help, sure. But the biggest question mark for the Blazers still revolves around depth. It's what killed the team down the stretch in 2012-13, and the current depth will make it awfully difficult for the team to hang tough throughout the gauntlet that is the Western Conference playoffs.
Coming out of the All-Star break, only seven players on the roster are playing more than 15 minutes per game—the starters, Mo Williams and C.J. McCollum.
Notice anything funky about that?
Not only are there no forwards coming off the bench for significant stretches, but there aren't any centers doing so either. LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez are tasked with an inordinate amount of responsibility and playing time, which could doom Portland down the stretch.
Hill isn't enough of a scoring threat to be an ideal fit in Rip City, but he's a big body. That's more important than anything else.
1. Brooklyn Nets
First of all, it will be difficult for the Brooklyn Nets to offer the Los Angeles Lakers anything that the Hollywood-based franchise might actually covet.
The Nets can absorb Hill's salary using the disabled player exception that was granted to them when Brook Lopez was ruled out for the season, but beyond that, there isn't much. Brooklyn might not be willing to exchange a second-round pick in 2018 (the soonest that one can be sent over), and there are no expendable expiring contracts to appease the Lakers.
As CBS Sports' Ken Berger said on Twitter, the "Nets would give Lakers nothing for Jordan Hill, who'd go into their exception. So it's a 'race' to see who will offer more than nothing."
That said, this isn't about the ease of acquisition or the likelihood of a deal. The rankings deal solely with how much each franchise needs Hill, and the picture you see up above is exactly what allows the Nets to shoot up the rankings.
Brooklyn had a rebounding specialist on the roster before Reggie Evans was traded to the Sacramento Kings. But when he and Jason Terry were shipped off to Sac-Town for Marcus Thornton, as reported by NBA.com's David Aldridge, that left Mason Plumlee, Kevin Garnett and Andray Blatche as the only true big men on the roster.
I'm hesitant to include Mirza Teletovic because he's a perimeter player, even if he is listed as a 4.
Brooklyn already struggled on the glass. The team ranks in the bottom 10 for both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, and that's highly problematic for a squad with dreams of more than just making the playoffs.
Not only would Hill provide some much-needed depth and injury insurance, but he'd help fix that weakness whenever on the court.