Hill of Fame

February 15, 2010

By Joe Gilmartin, Suns.com

When Coach Alvin praises Grant Hill, he is definitely preaching to this choir. And after last night’s squeaker over the short-handed Jazz he was singing them to the high heaven.

After giving due props to Channing Frye’s career night, Mickael Pietrus’s clutch play at both ends of the court, and another routine 20-14 night by Steve Nash, Gentry got down to the crux of the matter and, not incidentally, the real key to this victory.

Coach started off slowly, saying, “I can’t say enough about Grant Hill”, but then proceeded to give it a very good try.

“The job he did on Deron Williams was really outstanding. Grant doesn’t get enough credit for what he does, and in my mind he definitely belongs on the All Defense team. We ask him to play point guards, power forward, whatever, and he does it well night after night.”

Amen, brother!

Especially the part about not getting enough credit, even right here in Planet Orange. Williams is the straw that stirs Utah’s drink and is widely regarded as one of the game’s premier point guards, yet Hill pretty much took him out of his game. Williams was 2 for 11 from the field and had six turnovers, at least half of them for carrying the ball— a sure sign a player is being totally frustrated by defensive pressure.

And as Gentry notes, this was by no means a one-night stand. Hill’s been doing this all year, but it’s hard to generate much national notoriety when your team is struggling to stay above .500. But whether anybody’s noticing or not, Hill has quietly (what else?) turned into Shawn Marion at the defensive end. In his heyday here Marion guarded whoever the Suns felt needed the most guarding on any given night, especially in the fourth period — and remember Marion was in his 20s while Hill is in his very late thirties.

Belong on the All Defense team? Heck, Hill should be captain of it.