Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'
by Bryan Harvey

Previewing the ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Previewing the ACC-Big Ten Challenge
by Brendan Brody

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

George Hill: Keeping Hope Alive

June 26, 2011


Now that the George Hill era in San Antonio has come and gone we can say that it went exactly as we expected. He never delivered a championship or even an All-Star performance, but then again, what twenty-sixth pick from IUPUI ever does? What does IUPUI even stand for? Did we ever even find a position for George Hill? And the true answers to these questions are the paradoxical existence that is a team at the end of a championship run: Being drafted at the end of the first round to a team like the Spurs comes with all the mystery and pressure of being asked to perform necromancy, when to be picked by any other team would merely be a free pass to let the dead rest. When a team is on the rise, it relies on picking the right cornerstones at the top of the draft, but the more a team rises into the League's higher altitudes, it requires late round picks to prolong its oxygen supply, and George Hill was the Spurs' last breath.




Tim Duncan's Spurs got old twice, maybe even three times. Most teams never have that luxury, but San Antonio got old and then born again between the '99 and '03 championships, on the legs of Manu Ginobili, who as a fifty-seventh pick swept into the League like Dark Magic, and became the unfair standard for every non-Lottery Spurs pick thereafter, which happened to be every Spurs pick thereafter, which meant the Spurs were picking between bastard sons, rapists, thieves, and IUPUI graduates. But do not hold these men to their labels. George Hill should not be remembered as the Manu that never was, even if at this point in his career it gives his story context. No, George Hill proved himself more than his beginnings.

He was a favorite son. Less prodigal than either Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili, his banishment from the Black appears unwarranted. He was a constant believer in Pop's system, playing any of three perimeter positions, when asked, and willing to start or come off the bench. On some nights he was the team's defensive stopper, on other nights its key playmaker, on some a spot up shooter, and on others its best slasher. He did the duty that was asked of him, without the rumors that he'd given up on the team's vision, and without the heart-attack-inducing play of his two forbearers. And he was also young: twenty-five years old, which allows one to predict that his best years are still to come, somewhere beyond the walls of San Antonio. And that is why his parting is so filled with sorrow: Spurs fans are not used to seeing their best depart with so much game yet to run.


When today's Spurs fans are old and wrinkled, they will surely gather by late night fires and cozy bedposts, to tell the tales of Tim Duncan, Manu, and Tony. They will paint a grizzly face of Pop, potmarked and scarred from years of battle against Purple Walkers and Kobe Bryants. David Robinson, Sean Elliott, and George Gervin are likely to hear their names whispered in these stories, too; bricks and mortar in a strong lineage. But, now, George Hill's name will likely not be mentioned, except maybe as a footnote, or a man who rode off in the middle of the night, but it shouldn't be so. His willingness to not only play any part but to depart with class is something that needs to be shared and praised. He is the necromancer, and he keeps the game alive, even if his miracles are now limited to the snowy cornfields of Indiana.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

 

© 2008-2010 ·The Lawn Chair Boys by TNB