Saturday, April 28, 2007

Last Game for Grant Hill??

Is this dunk at left Grant Hill's last flush in the NBA?

Hill is considering retirement, after his Orlando Magic were swept by the top-seeded Detroit Pistons, losing game 4 97-93. The former All-Star's massive $16.9 million contract is up this year, and even if the Magic offer him a new deal--a very big if--it will likely be somewhere around the mid-level exception, or lower.

Hill's ankle has seen more action than Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan combined. His heel has been reshaped, and he has sat out parts of the last 6 seasons, playing more than 60 games only twice. He is 34, his legs are about 28, and his ankle is a senior citizen. It's a sad story for a former MVP candidate, who I still imagine making championship runs with a Tracy McGrady--sans back injury, of course.

But, Hill can still contribute. He averaged nearly 15 a game this year, shooting his characteristic 50% from the field, and is still a stabilizing force on the court. Multi-talented, good handle, good passer, solid defense, a glue guy of sorts. He still has a place in the league. But if Hill decides to hang 'em up, he deserves a pat on the back, and a solemn one at that. A job well done, with a body that betrayed him. Hill would have been a career 22-25 ppg scorer and one of the classy faces of the league, like a Tim Duncan.

If Hill decides to stay, you have to think he'd like to go to a winner: Spurs, Mavs, Bulls, maybe a return tour of duty with the Pistons. A team that can live with his injuries and save him for the playoffs. A good example to watch would be Chris Webber. If he gets Detroit to a finals, that might serve as a model for Hill, that he can still be a force and have an impact for the right suitor.

If not, though, we'll have to remember Hill for his high-flying dunks at Duke, and his ability to make those old Turquoise Pistons unis look damn good. Better not to think about what might have been.

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