Grant Hill deserved All-Defensive honors

Hill defended everyone from Derrick Rose to Blake Griffin, but didn't earn an All-Defensive honor for his efforts. Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Grant Hill may not have led the league in steals like Chris Paul, patrolled the paint like Dwight Howard or cracked SportsCenter’s Top 10 with transition swats like LeBron James, but the 38-year-old at least deserved a spot on the 2010-11 All-Defensive second team.

Whether he was locking down Kevin Durant or Manu Ginobili, Hill proved to be without a doubt one of the premier on-the-ball defenders in the NBA.

He led the league in charges taken and despite playing for a Suns team that ranked 26th in opponent’s field goal percentage, the 15-year vet consistently held superstars well under their scoring averages and shooting percentages.

But when the NBA’s 30 coaches put their heads together to vote on the best 10 defenders in the NBA — restricted by position — Hill was left on the outside looking in, falling four points shy of both Andre Iguodala and Joakim Noah.

His teammates were dumbfounded as Hakim Warrick Tweeted, “How did @realgranthill33 not make 1st or 2nd team all defensive?”

Steve Nash replied, “Seriously! Every night. Different positions. Deserved it.”

But no one was more disappointed than Hill’s longtime coach and All-Defensive spokesman Alvin Gentry.

The Suns head coach told The Arizona Republic, “No one did more defensively for their team than him. He got punished for what we did as a team. I’d like to know who else guarded Amar’e Stoudemire, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Durant and everything but a five.”

The coaches got the majority of the two teams correct as it’s hard to argue against Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard on the first team and Chris Paul, Tony Allen and Tyson Chandler on the second team.

But Hill outperformed Kobe Bryant — a first-team selection — on the defensive end, while rivaling both Iguoudala and Noah. In fact, if it weren’t for Noah being listed as both a forward and center, Hill would have made the second team as the squad’s second forward.

Both Noah and Iguodala finished with 15 total points (a first-team vote is worth two points and a second-team vote is worth one), while Hill ended up with 11 total points. Hill did, however, finish with four first-team votes, which was one more than Noah (three) and the most among players on the bubble.

What’s most mind-boggling is that Hill finished seventh in the NBA in Defensive Player of the Year voting, ahead of Bryant, Iguodala and Noah. Hill was also one of only five players not named Dwight Howard to finish with at least one first-place vote.

Kobe’s reputation landed him on the first team, as it’s tough to look past eight previous All-Defensive selections. But Hill, who has never made an All-Defensive team, did a better job defensively than Bryant this season.

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Hill held opponents to 0.83 points per possession, while Kobe yielded 0.89 PPP. Kobe did trump Hill in isolation defense, allowing only 0.76 PPP to Hill’s 0.87, but he played on a team surrounded by defensive talent.

Ron Artest more often than not took the opposing team’s best player, and the versatile Lamar Odom allowed Kobe to defend strictly shooting guards. Hill, on the other hand, guarded everyone from Derrick Rose (whom he held to an average of 10-for-24 shooting in two games) to Dirk Nowitzki and Blake Griffin.

Based on the numbers and defensive value to their respective team, Hill deserved the nod over Kobe. The only problem is that Hill didn’t qualify as a shooting guard, so first-team honors was out of the question.

But he still should have earned a spot over either Iguodala or Noah. While Iguodala edged Hill in PPP (0.81), the Suns’ SF held opponents to a lower FG% overall (36.8 compared to 37.9) and in isolation situations (36.6 compared to 42.3).

There’s no hiding Iguodala’s defensive prowess, but Hill shut down a wider range of players while playing stellar team defense. It’s hard to compare Hill and Noah because they play different positions, so the defensive numbers don’t have as much value.

But Noah played only 48 games, compared to Hill’s 80. How can a player that competed in just over half of the games make second-team All-Defense?  With all of that said, Hill deserved a spot over Bryant, Iguodala and Noah, yet his outstanding defensive season goes unnoticed.

Here’s a look at whom he locked down over the course of the regular season:

Time (MST)/Result
Mon, Dec 26New OrleansL 84-85FSAZ0-1
Wed, Dec 28PhiladelphiaL 83-103FSAZ0-2
Fri, Dec 30at New OrleansW 93-78NBA TV/FSAZ1-2
Sat, Dec 31at Oklahoma CityL 97-107FSAZ1-3
Mon, Jan 2Golden StateW 102-91FSAZ2-3
Wed, Jan 4at DallasL 89-98FSAZ2-4
Fri, Jan 6PortlandW 102-77ESPN/FSAZ3-4
Sun, Jan 8MilwaukeeW 109-93FSAZ4-4
Tue, Jan 10at LA LakersL 83-99NBA TV/FSAZ4-5
Thu, Jan 12ClevelandL 90-101FSAZ Plus4-6
Fri, Jan 13New JerseyL 103-110FSAZ4-7
Sun, Jan 15at San AntonioL 91-102ESPN/FSAZ4-8
Tue, Jan 17at ChicagoL 97-118FSAZ4-9
Wed, Jan 18at New YorkW 91-88FSAZ5-9
Fri, Jan 20at BostonW 79-71FSAZ6-9
Mon, Jan 23at DallasL 87-93FSAZ6-10
Tue, Jan 24TorontoL 96-99FSAZ6-11
Fri, Jan 27at PortlandL 71-109FSAZ6-12
Sat, Jan 28MemphisW 86-84FSAZ7-12
Mon, Jan 30DallasL 99-122FSAZ7-13
Wed, Feb 1at New OrleansW 120-103FSAZ8-13
Fri, Feb 3at HoustonL 81-99FSAZ8-14
Sat, Feb 4CharlotteW 95-89FSAZ9-14
Mon, Feb 6at AtlantaW 99-90FSAZ10-14
Tue, Feb 7at MilwaukeeW 107-105FSAZ11-14
Thu, Feb 9HoustonL 89-96FSAZ11-15
Sat, Feb 11at SacramentoW 98-84NBA TV/FSAZ12-15
Mon, Feb 13at Golden StateL 96-102NBA TV/FSAZ12-16
Tue, Feb 14at DenverL 92-109FSAZ12-17
Wed, Feb 15AtlantaL 99-101FSAZ12-18
Fri, Feb 17at LA LakersL 99-111ESPN/FSAZ12-19
Sun, Feb 19LA LakersW 102-90FSAZ13-19
Mon, Feb 20WashingtonW 104-88FSAZ14-19
Wed, Feb 22Golden StateL 104-106FSAZ14-20
Thu, Mar 1MinnesotaW 104-95FSAZ15-20
Fri, Mar 2LA ClippersW 81-78ESPN/FSAZ16-20
Sun, Mar 4SacramentoW 96-88FSAZ17-20
Wed, Mar 7at Oklahoma CityL 104-115FSAZ Plus17-21
Thu, Mar 8DallasW 96-94TNT18-21
Sat, Mar 10MemphisW 98-91FSAZ19-21
Mon, Mar 12MinnesotaL 124-127FSAZ19-22
Wed, Mar 14UtahW 120-111FSAZ20-22
Thu, Mar 15at LA ClippersW 91-87FSAZ21-22
Fri, Mar 16DetroitW 109-101FSAZ22-22
Sun, Mar 18HoustonW 99-86FSAZ23-22
Tue, Mar 20at MiamiL 95-99FSAZ23-23
Wed, Mar 21at OrlandoL 93-103FSAZ23-24
Fri, Mar 23at IndianaW 113-111FSAZ24-24
Sun, Mar 25at ClevelandW 108-83NBA TV/FSAZ25-24
Tue, Mar 27San AntonioL 100-107FSAZ25-25
Wed, Mar 28at LA ClippersL 86-103NBA TV/FSAZ25-26
Sun, Apr 1New OrleansW 92-75FSAZ26-26
Tue, Apr 3at SacramentoW 99-90FSAZ27-26
Wed, Apr 4at UtahW 107-105FSAZ28-26
Fri, Apr 6at DenverL 99-105FSAZ Plus28-27
Sat, Apr 7LA LakersW 125-105FSAZ29-27
Mon, Apr 9at MinnesotaW 114-90ESPN2/FSAZ30-27
Wed, Apr 11at MemphisL 93-104FSAZ30-28
Fri, Apr 13at HoustonW 112-105ESPN/FSAZ31-28
Sat, Apr 14at San AntonioL 91-105ESPN/FSAZ31-29
Mon, Apr 16PortlandW 125-107FSAZ32-29
Wed, Apr 18Oklahoma CityL 97-109FSAZ32-30
Thu, Apr 19LA ClippersW 93-90TNT33-30
Sat, Apr 21DenverL 107-118ESPN/FSAZ33-31
Tue, Apr 24at UtahL 88-100TNT33-32
Wed, Apr 25San AntonioL 106-110ESPN/FSAZ33-33

Tags: Grant Hill

  • Nba critic

    No way noah should have been chosen. The same problem lies in the all star starters selection process, there should be a set minimum amount of games played to be eligible. Otherwise you get such idiocy as yao ming being selected without even stepping on the court for a full game.

  • Tony

    Hill deserved to be on the first team all defense but his not being selected is more a result of how irrelevant the Suns are now. This is all thanks to one man, Robert Sarver. First Nash deserved to be an all star this season but was slighted and now Hill is snubbed for all defense. This will continue for the Suns, so long as they are run by Sarver and are irrelevant.

  • sun also rises

    And just when Tony had started to sound sane for a while, he reminds us that he has a blow-up doll of Robert Sarver under his bed that he “abuses” on a nightly basis in satisfying his crazy stalker crush.

    Did the Lakers get swept because of Sarver too, Tony? How about the CBA? I’m guessing that Sarver had something to do with it… and the lock out is DEFINITELY gunna be his fault. I can see why you’re obsessed with this, it’s kind of fun.

  • Marley

    HINT: The Suns are a below .500 team and did not make the playoffs.

    As good as G.Hill is defensively, the Suns need to unload him along with Nash, Carter, Pietrius, Brooks, and anyone else with an expiring contract.

    In fact, trade Gortat for pieces while he is still hot and keep Lopez. Let Lopez know the Suns still have faith in him and will invest in him as the starting center.

    It’s rebuilding time. It will take one or two more seasons. The Suns need to get real bad and play the lottery. Get 2-3 new young stars from the draft if they can.

    That starts with unloading everybody that has value.

  • Steve


    Marley, Marley, Marley. Did I really just read this?

    “trade Gortat for pieces while he is still hot and keep Lopez. Let Lopez know the Suns still have faith in him and will invest in him as the starting center.”

    I don’t want to flame anyone, but you make it really hard sometimes. Can you please explain to me what sounds reasonable about trading away a guy who averages a double double and keeping a guy who doesn’t deserve to be on an NBA floor (he has the talent to be pretty good, but there is something amiss. After a few seasons, I think it’s clear he’s never going to be as good as Gortat is right now)?

    I can’t find one justifiable reason for that.

    I get what you’re saying, but rebuilding doesn’t mean, “Let’s suck as bad as possible for a couple of years and hope we get a top 3 stud.” Boston didn’t build their team through the lottery, LA didn’t build their team through the lottery, Miami didn’t build their team through the lottery, Atlanta didn’t build their team through the lottery, the Mavs didn’t build their team through the lottery, Memphis didn’t build their team through the lottery…

    Are you seeing a pattern here? Lottery teams are lottery teams because they are BAD. It’s not very common to find a Durant or Rose that can turn a franchise around in a couple of years, and I wouldn’t bet on our chances of finding that guy even if we had the #1 overall pick. And even still neither Rose or Durant did it by themselves. Durant had Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka to help him, and Rose had Boozer, Noah, and Deng. There are only three recent #1 picks I can think of who had a lot of success in the NBA and won multiple championships with the team that drafted them: Olajuwon, Robinson, and Duncan. I don’t know the circumstances of Houston around the time of Olajuwon’s draft, so I can’t really comment further there, but I know that the Duncan situation was a fluke. The Spurs weren’t really that bad, they just had one of the best players of all time hurt for the season, and without Robinson, that team was virtually worthless. Duncan walked onto a team that was already prepared to win.

    James hasn’t won a championship (yet). Howard hasn’t. Rose hasn’t. Oden hasn’t. Kwame Brown has done absolutely nothing (except for luck out and get to be on the Laker’s for a little while). Wall hasn’t, Griffin hasn’t, Bargnani hasn’t, Bogut hasn’t, K-Mart hasn’t, Ming hasn’t, Joe Smith hasn’t, Olowakandi hasn’t, Webber hasn’t… oh, Shaq was #1 overall as well, but he didn’t win with the franchise that drafted him, so this doesn’t do anything to take away from my point… Derrick Coleman, Larry Johnson, Glenn Robinson, Allen Iverson, Danny Manning… do you get my point?

    Teams that get high lottery picks get them for a reason. This got really long-winded, and I apologize for that. For some reason, your posts have the ability to bring this out in me. Again, I don’t want to flame or anything, but what about your comments seems reasonable? Where have you seen an example of, “If we tank, we’ll luck out and be winning championships in no time.” And if there is an example of that, how many examples are there to the contrary?

  • sun also rises

    More words than Marley deserves, Steve.. you’re the MVSteve of this blog for doing work like this.

    I think Marley just secretly wants Gortat back in Orlando, which is why he/she/it constantly insults the Hammah and comes up with the lamest possible reasons why the dude shouldn’t stay in PHX. But to be fair, I would be getting way desperate too, knowing Dwight Howard is already shopping for a home in Los Angeles or Dallas.

    Compared to NO center, Drew “I’m sorry I’m getting fined… oh, and for clocking the Lucky Charms leprechaun for no reason” Bynum or Tyson Chandler (I got no nickname for him, the guy’s a great piece in any situation), I would be wanting a player like Gortat around, too.

  • sun also rises

    Also, helping a brotha out, Steve:

    Olajuwon’s standing in the draft was a lot like Shaq and Penny Hardaway. Rockets already had Ralph Sampson (Another number one who never won a ring, but who was seen as the MAN when he was drafted) and were turning around, but getting Olajuwon was not only surprising but paid off immediately when the Rockets beat the Lakers in the Dream’s sophomore year and faced the Celtics in the ’86 Finals (which they lost 4-2).

    However the team fell flat after that. It was only after they got Kenny Smith, Otis Thorpe, Mario Elie, Clyde Drexler and the other supporting players from ’94-’95 that Olajuwon got unleashed and became the Man. It also didn’t hurt that Jordan wasn’t around in those runs, too. :-D

  • Phil

    Guys guys guys… why bother? I’ll bet Marley is laughing his head off reading the responses. He tries to say the most ridiculous thing he can and see if you guys bite.

  • sun also rises

    Your probably right, Phil. I guess this is what happens when you aren’t really rooting for any body left in the playoffs, and just find yourself waiting for camps to start!