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The Kings don’t deserve the blame for George Hill’s struggles

Hill continues to blame the Kings for his poor performance

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NBA: Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The George Hill era in Sacramento came to a merciful end in February when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. George Hill chased his pay day, was unhappy, and was moved to a better team. You’d think that would be the end of it. But George Hill seems intent on continuing to bash the Kings for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. This time he complains about the Kings via Tom Reed of The Athletic ($).

After detailing how the free agent market dried up, Reed writes:

He opted to sign a three-year, $57 million pact with the Kings, providing financial security for his fiancée, Samantha Garcia, and their two small children.

“The Kings said they wanted to change the culture and bring in some solid vets so we could groom the young guys and bring in a winning mentality,” Hill said. “They didn’t expect to win, but they wanted to change the culture.”

This conflicts with previous claims from Hill’s camp that the Kings brought him in as part of a playoff push, if you recall Hill complaining about the Kings in December. At that time sources (read: George Hill either directly or via his camp) told Tony Jones:

These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.

But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.

Let’s see how nicely this dovetails with what Hill now says on the record. Back to The Athletic:

In hindsight, the first sign of trouble, Hill said, was assistant general manager Scott Perry leaving last July to become the Knicks’ new GM.

As the Kings started poorly, Hill saw a shift in front-office philosophy spearheaded by new assistant general manager Brandon Williams.

Almost like these two things are being said by the same person. Weird.

I also love the idea that an assistant GM being hired away to be GM of another team is some sign of trouble. It’s not like Perry bailed. He got a promotion and the Kings allowed him to pursue his dream job. If Hill’s signing in Sacramento was predicated on who the assistant GM of the Kings was, he’s a bigger fool than I thought.

Now we get to perhaps my favorite part of the article, where Reed absolutely shills for his subject:

Detractors will say Hill’s signing was a money grab and that he should have known the Kings were destined for a brutal season. The counter to that argument is to look how well the Pacers played after trading away Paul George last summer.

Detractors, and anyone paying attention to the fact that Hill took the biggest payday on a multi-year contract he could find, will say Hill’s signing was a money grab and they would be correct. And I’m not sure how the Pacers playing well after trading Paul George is any sort of counter argument. Hill was signed to mentor young players, according to Hill’s own words. The Kings had no expectation of being good, according to Hill’s own words.

Hill chased the money and agreed to a mentor role, and then got pissed off when the Kings didn’t win a lot of games and he had to be a mentor. Throughout the article Hill talks about how tough it was for him mentally and emotionally, but nowhere does he take responsibility for playing terribly to start the year, and never living up to his production in Utah. Nowhere does Hill take responsibility for his poor play and how it contributed to the Kings losing so many games.

The profile itself it much longer and details Hill’s life before and after the Kings. But when it comes to Sacramento Hill does nothing but blame everybody else for his situation. The biggest mistake the Kings made wasn’t signing Hill, but confusing him for someone who would be a good mentor.