2009 Jordan Hill Pre-Camp Interview

I sat down with Jordan Hill on 9/28/09 for about 3 minutes and 26 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer my questions.

Mike Kurylo: What position do you see yourself playing in the NBA, power forward, center or a little bit of both? 2009-interview-jordan-hill

Jordan Hill: It really doesn’t matter. I see myself as a power forward, but it really doesn’t matter. Whatever the team needs me to be, at I have to go out there and make the best of it.

Mike Kurylo: What did you learn about adjusting to the NBA from summer league?

Jordan Hill: D’Antoni’s system is up & down and I was definitely out of shape during the summer league. I’ve been working really hard to get back in shape, and now I’m there.

Mike Kurylo: How do you get in shape in the offseason?

Jordan Hill: Definitely you have to eat right, I’ve been running hills, running on the football field, sweating more, lifting weights, doing the things that you should do to get in shape.

Mike Kurylo: Do you have a personal trainer, do you go to a gym, or …

Jordan Hill: No, I know what to do. I do everything myself. During the summer I worked out with [one of the Knick trainers] who helped a lot. And I listened to the trainers in here, and they helped me out tremendously.

Mike Kurylo: Which of your teammates are you looking forward to playing alongside with?

Jordan Hill: Umm… Chris Duhon…(laughs)

Mike Kurylo: Because he’s going to get you the ball?

Jordan Hill: Exactly.

Mike Kurylo: What is your best asset or skill as a player?

Jordan Hill: Probably rebounding. I try to stay focused on rebounding. I know I can score at will, but it’s better to get that extra rebound when your team needs it. I love rebounding and fighting hard [for one].

Mike Kurylo: How do you see yourself fitting in with the frontcourt here? There are a lot of guys this year. Is there a friendly competition playing for minutes?

Jordan Hill: It’s good. It’s real fun [competing] because they’re definitely good players. I just want to come out here and learn from them. They’ve been here, they know the system. I just want to take their advice and learn more about the game.

Mike Kurylo: What part of D’Antoni’s offense, that you’ve seen in practice or in the summer league, do you like best?

Jordan Hill: Probably the pick & rolls and the up & down game. I love the pick & roll. I can pick & pop and shoot the easy mid range shot, which has gotten a whole lot better. Or I can pick & roll and get the easy dunk. I just have to look at the defense, and know what [my role is].

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

14 thoughts to “2009 Jordan Hill Pre-Camp Interview”

  1. Considering that professionals make millions of dollars in guaranteed money a year, shouldn’t one think that hiring a personal chef for a year might be a good investment (and write-off)?

    I mean, is there any reason that Eddy Curry’s salary can’t support someone to help preserve his earning potential over the next decade?

  2. Good interview Mike. Sticking with your first question to him, what are your thoughts on who should play PF and C for us this year? In the regular rotation? Should Hill be in that regular rotation?

  3. Did he really say he could “score at will”? What did you make of that when you heard it?

  4. Jafa,

    I don’t see Hill making the rotation. His best chance is to earn a niche with his jumper. Other than Harrington, no other Knick forward has a deadly outside shot. But you’d have to think the depth chart will be Lee, Harrington, Darko, Curry, and Hill. His other chance is if Curry works himself into D’Antoni’s doghouse, which of course he’s doing right off the bat. But the Knicks need to trade Curry, which means he needs court time.

    Hill could see time later in the season, esp if injuries and/or trades free up a rotation spot.

  5. It’s nice to hear he can drain the mid-range jumper. I think if he is to be part of the future of this team he needs:

    1. great finishing skills. He should be able to dunk off the break already, but could polish this skill.

    2. rebound. He seems to be pretty good at this now, but can work on it.

    3. block shots from the weakside and fill the lane and take a charge. we need this so bad, with Lee as the other future post player. Taking a charge is a learned skill but it seems like shotblocking is a knack that he has a bit of – we’ll see.

    4. one-on-one post skills. ideally not a major skill for the d’antoni system, but it’s good to have a post player that commands a double team in the post (and can do other things on the court too… looking at you Eddy…) and I don’t see Lee becoming that. This is probably where Hill needs the most work.

    5. pass in the post and out to shooters. Lee is already very good at this so it’s not that important, but it really helps in this offense.

    I think he could work as a pf to Lee’s c in the future if he works on all this and of course, his man-on-man defense.

  6. “But you’d have to think the depth chart will be Lee, Harrington, Darko, Curry, and Hill.”

    yeah, if everyone is healthy, Hill looks like he’s maybe 12th in line for playing time as of now.


    then Curry and Jeffries as ‘showcases’ to hopefully dump them, then Hill.

    am I the only one who looks at that rotation and wonders how long it will be before Hughes and/or Harrington get publicly pissed about lack of PT?

  7. Some interesting things re: last night’s scrimmage in Hahn’s column. 1) Jeffries looks good, particularly his shot; I seem to remember hearing this at previous camps, so whatever…
    2) Duhon is standing out, so he seems fully recovered from whatever ailed him last spring.
    3) D’Antoni experimented with a big lineup with Gallo at the 2 (Duhon, Gallo, Jeffries, Lee, Darko.) I don’t see Gallo staying in front of 2’s defensively, but having Darko does create options that didn’t exist last year. Darko says all the right things in the quotes at the end of the article. In particular, he says that there’s lots of offense on this team so he can concentrate on defense and rebounding.

    Looking very forward to tomorrow.

  8. “am I the only one who looks at that rotation and wonders how long it will be before Hughes and/or Harrington get publicly pissed about lack of PT?”

    That was brought up a couple of weeks ago. I think Harrington is solidly in the rotation… one of the Knicks better players. I also see Hughes making the rotation since the Knicks don’t have much guard depth. Would be great to see enough production on the roster that those guys can’t get minutes…

    “I don’t see Gallo staying in front of 2’s defensively”

    In that particular line-up he can guard 3s and Jeffries 2s… I will say that it was Gallinari’s athleticism, particularly his ability to get to the basket and draw fouls, that set him apart at a very young age in Europe. A lot more so than his shot… which was never that consistent in Europe (he was also a go-to scorer and not spotting up for open looks like last season). So, between his length and athleticism he could be able to guard some 2s.

    Personally, I like the part of Hahn’s article about Nate jawing… and others responding. I know Nate annoys a lot of people (and the whining to the officials annoys me too), but I love his fire. Besides, well, talent, the Isiah Knicks really lacked fire. I can imagine that Nate jawed in training camp then, too, but doubt anyone used it as fuel the way Duhon apparently did… They probably jawed back in a hung-over/high out of breath way and then bricked a few contested shots… Like to hear that Harrington was pumped up too. Definitely encouraging from Darko.

    I mean I don’t put too much into preseason team scrimmages, but it would be nice to watch a team that is going 100% and has some defined roles that they excel in… They mostly played hard last season, but defined roles came and went with some important ones (interior D… the whole center position really… and back-up PG) completely unaddressed.

  9. “I will say that it was Gallinari’s athleticism, particularly his ability to get to the basket and draw fouls, that set him apart at a very young age in Europe. A lot more so than his shot… ”

    an article in today’s Post has D’Antoni saying the following:


    “He’s not one of those guys who can get his own shot,” D’Antoni said, explaining why Gallinari may not be certified go-to guy in the final possessions. “He’ll have to play off other people who will have to create and pass. A pick and roll, they help and there’s Gallo. He’s more that type right now.”

    Overall, the quotes from D’Antoni seem to indicate that he is not as athletic as he is skilled and smart, which is the same impression I got watching him last year. It wasn’t clear how much was due to the bad back, but he definitely had some quickness issues. He does have a knack for getting his hand on the ball for deflections and blocks, but he will probably be vulnerable in isolation plays out on the wing defensively against quicker 2’s and 3’s. I can see him as a situational 2 but not there for extended duty.

    I also think he is a pretty savvy defender when floating around in the driving-passing lanes (kind of like Bird, who was also more skilled and smart than athletic? It seems to me that his defensive strengths are more valuable closer to the basket.

  10. My intention was not to say that Danilo is a super athlete (by NBA standards). The athleticism is Europe is no where near what it is in the NBA, to the point where a quick athletic wing like Quincy Lewis really stood out to the eye (still not a particularly good player in Europe, but his athleticism stands out).
    Danilo lived at the free throw line in Italy, which is a combination of athleticism, skill, and attitude/mentality. Last season he was literally asked to stand around and spot up for open jumpers, I think the back had a whole lot to do with it. That’s not to say that his athleticism will stand out at the NBA level, it almost definitely will not. My point was just that he’s not a stiff and his skills/athleticism combination will make him stand out overall in the NBA.

    I’m also not saying that the 2 is his optimal position, but he could play there situationally. He could even create as many mismatch problems for opposing 2s as they would for him, if he’s on his game.

    “He’s more that type right now.” I think this is a key part of the quote you use. He’s still 21, and he could already easily be the best scorer on the Knicks this season. He was a go-to scorer on a Euroleague team at 18, 19 years old, which is saying something. It would be a lot better to have him next to a top caliber go-to scorer like LeBron or Dwayne Wade, of course…
    Coaches aren’t always geniuses at drawing up last second plays anyway: Think Isiah clearing everyone out almost every single last possession so that his “go-to scorer” Jamal Crawford could dribble around and brick a contested 3, or the few times when he actually ran a team play on a last possession and they almost universally seemed to work… a pattern started to emerge to me. There are very few players in the NBA that I would actually let “create their own shot” on a crucial possession, yet every coach seems to think that one of his wings is Michael Jordan…

    Here are some other quotes from the same article:

    “Right now, he doesn’t have the explosion or speed to get by somebody or create something for someone. In two three years, he’ll get stronger. To be honest, that is what will make him really good. If he never gets that, he’ll be good player, great shooter. That will separate him.”
    “D’Antoni has noticed a tentativeness on both ends”
    “We’d like for him to get to be Turkoglu-ish where he can pick and roll and create his own stuff,”

    Once he’s got his confidence he can be a scorer and playmaker.

  11. “My point was just that he’s not a stiff and his skills/athleticism combination will make him stand out overall in the NBA.”

    I would modify this statement to read size/skills/smarts rather than skills/athleticism. I just don’t see him as particularly athletic, even for a guy 6’10”; would you say, for example, that he would be a better athlete than most starting 4’s? I wouldn’t. That’s why I don’t think he will be all that effective at the 2, except situationally.

  12. I think his size/skills/smarts are a great combination, but I meant skills/athleticism. As in the combination of skills and athleticism will make him a good NBA player. In terms of European big/wing prospects you get a lot of skilled stiffs and a lot of pretty athletic guys with huge holes in their games or just no skill at all. Rarely have we seen a strong combination of both, and most of those guys have been good-to-very-good NBA players.

    He has good basketball athleticism. He’s got a good vertical game and solid quickness. A lot of guys can jump out of the gym, but it doesn’t help much on the court.
    I really don’t think that last season was an indication of anything. It was clear that he was asked to stand around and shoot jumpers. I don’t think he’ll stand out in the NBA athletically, but I also think he is far more athletic than a lot of successful wings/bigs. I’d say he’s quicker than Hedo and a better shooter, so I see Hedo as a floor for him.

    I don’t think he’s a 4, not at this point, so I wouldn’t compare him to 4s. D’Antoni might put him at the 4, but I think that would be a mistake this season. He’s not going to stack up to a Tyrus Thomas or Vince Carter by a mile, but I guess I would have to think about what average athleticism is by NBA standards.

    If you look at his highlights from Italy/Euroleague on youtube you’re going to see a guy who made a lot of athletic moves as an 18/19 year old playing against grown men… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Rwdsjq3WLE&feature=related that’s a decent enough highlight reel with a few clips of him vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv which is one of Europe’s best teams. (I don’t really advocate watching highlight reels to judge players, but in this case to see his athleticism or lack there of I think it’s appropriate.) One case study that comes to mind for me is Rudy Fernandez. He stood out athletically in Spain and is still athletic enough to compete in the dunk contest in the NBA. I thought Rudy’s athleticism might not transfer, but he’s still a decently athletic guy in the NBA. Not exceptional as he was in Spain, but solid. Of course Rudy is a pure 2-guard, so I’m not comparing their games just saying that guys who stand out as being athletic and skilled at a young age in Europe tend to be athletic enough in the NBA.

    I’m talking mostly about offensive skills, and maybe Danilo has something like the Marbury’s explosiveness but lack of lateral quickness… who knows. And while he says he feels 100%, maybe the back problem cost him some athleticism that he’ll never get back or flares back up… again, who knows.

    Here’s a reel of Danilo and Milano getting eaten alive by Delonte Holland (former DePaul player…). Holland is athletic and known for getting to the rim, but Danilo stays in front of him pretty well. Danilo’s only on him 1/2 the time (there’s another white guy who guards him a lot.. Danilo is #8 and mostly on him in the beginning and end) and Holland’s just draining jumpers the whole game. Holland bursts by Danilo on the baseline once and Danilo somewhat lazily tries to block it from behind. Towards the end Danilo almost breaks his ankle, too, in an embarrassing moment. This is one of the more athletic wings in Europe considered athletic as a draft prospect having a 50 point night and Danilo does a decent job of staying in front of him. I definitely don’t expect Danilo to be a defensive difference maker, but hopefully solid enough.

  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui9GMwspe7Q&feature=related

    There’s a full reel of Danilo vs. Tel Aviv. At times he’s going against Omri Casspi, an Israeli wing who was drafted 23rd by the Kings this year in large part because of his athleticism. (He moves well without the ball and is a good athlete, but I’m not that high on him personally.)

    Again, this is offense and it’s also one of his best games, but he does a little bit of everything in this game scoring wise: creates his own shots, moves without the ball, posts-up, a lot of getting to the basket and scoring in traffic…

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