We love Grant Hill. He's cool; he's friendly. But he's too gimpy to play major minutes as the Suns' small forward. He definitely shouldn't be the starter anymore. Coming off the bench would be this gimp's speed nowadays, and hopefully new coach Terry Porter will use him effectively in this role this season. Hill adds character and leadership to the team. He's the kind of guy that young players look up to. Plus, he had his moments during the regular season. He injured himself at the end of last season because coach Mike D'Antoni gave regular playing time to just eight team members. There are 12 active players on the team, and other more successful teams (say, the San Antonio Spurs) rotate 11 players into the game. This is the way you develop players, and the way you preserve the bodies of your veterans. Duh, he was worthless to the Suns in the playoffs because D'Antoni had used him until he used him up!
Here's why Hill must be used sparingly: He's been in the NBA since 1994, six years with the Detroit Pistons and seven with the Orlando Magic, and he's been injured much of that time. Hill's had everything from ankle injuries to a life-threatening staph infection to a sports hernia that allowed him to play in only 30 percent of the Orlando Magic's regular-season games when he was there. Last year, we said Hill was a valuable addition to the team, and we still think that. But as a bench player!
Last year, we thought the Suns would, at the most, start him and play him maybe half a game. That way, he could've given the team quality minutes and stayed healthy. If Porter is wise (we know GM Steve Kerr is, and we know he understands that there's only so much life left in veteran players), he will use Hill as a sparkplug. He will keep the slasher fresh so he has some spring in those gimpy legs of his.