Grant Hill

When we heard the Phoenix Suns had signed Grant Hill, our first thought was that he'd be another Jalen Rose. Now, we love Jalen Rose; he was a great player back in his long-past Indiana Pacers days, and he's an entertaining presence on Best Damn Sports Show Period, but he was too old and slow to play for the run-and-gun Suns. Hill's been in the NBA since 1994, six years with the Detroit Pistons and seven with the Orlando Magic, so it appeared the Suns were getting a similar worn-out package. Until we looked below the surface. Hill's had everything from ankle injuries to a life-threatening staph infection to a sports hernia, which allowed him to play in only 30 percent of the Magic's regular-season games... but this is actually is a plus.

That is why the Suns' new general manager, Steve Kerr, made signing Hill his top priority in the off-season. Though he's been in the league for 13 years, Hill hasn't worn himself out. He's spent most of his time in the weight room, in rehab, and as a student of the game. His legs still have that spring of youth in them. As proof, after sitting out his entire fourth season and being severely hampered by nagging injuries in all but one other season with Orlando, he returned last year to play in 65 of 82 pre-playoff games and averaged 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. This is down from his career average of 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game, but it's proof that he's back from his injuries. If the Suns play him sparingly at small forward, he could be the shot in the arm the franchise needs to get past the Spurs and the Mavericks and into the NBA finals.

As a former point forward and NBA assists leader for four seasons among non-guards, he's also a ball-handler who will give Steve Nash much needed relief.


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