Standing as one of most dependable contributors for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, we look into how George Hill has maximized his contract after extending his stint last summer.
Very few predicted just how vital George Hill would be to the Milwaukee Bucks’ title hopes before his impressive showing throughout last year’s playoff run.
Without it, the Bucks’ offseason last summer may have been a very different one, Instead, Hill was one of several returning Bucks players the team brought back on long-term deals to continue maximizing their supporting cast around superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and this championship window.
To say the decision to re-sign the 33-year-old veteran last summer was a home run would be an understatement.
After all, Hill has built on the wild efficiency with which he played at during the Bucks’ 2019 playoff run and extended his high-level output into this 2019-20 season where he’s currently averaging 9.6 points on a .530/.480/.831 slash line, along with 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists through his 52 appearances.
Even after undergoing a minor dip in his 3-point shooting before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus, Hill still stands as the overwhelming leader in 3-point percentage across the league this year. That’s even good for the best 3-point shooting season in Bucks history as it edges out the 47.6 percent legendary sharpshooter Dell Curry shot throughout his lone campaign with the Bucks during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
The 12-year veteran’s strong performance throughout this season has certainly alleviated any reservations some Bucks fans may have had regarding how Hill’s three-year, $29 million contract signed last summer would age over the span of the deal.
At the time and especially so now, it was a necessarily evil for the Bucks to commit to Hill to the level that they did, especially following the loss of Malcolm Brogdon. And with no cover and depth behind starting Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe, Hill’s presence was even more needed in that regard.
But as has increasingly been the case under general manager Jon Horst, there’s a level of flexibility included on the Bucks’ end of Hill’s deal as Hill’s $10 million salary for the 2021-22 season is only partially guaranteed. That guarantee date is slated for July 1, 2021.
Horst similarly structured deals last offseason with Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews to maintain the team’s flexibility following the 2020-21 season, which can be when Antetokounmpo hits free agency if he chooses to go that route and decline the inevitable supermax offer coming this offseason.
With essentially the rest of this season, should it continue, and next on the books, Hill’s contract will run through faster than believed at the time. And considering the level he’s been playing at to start, there’s very little reason to believe Hill’s deal will become a burden on the Bucks’ books at this point in time.
As has been the case with many of the Bucks’ standout pieces, head coach Mike Budenholzer has also been mindful of not overextending Hill’s minutes and overall workload to maintain his impact and efficiency from a physical standpoint. That is certainly key, given Hill’s age and the niggling injuries he has picked up over his year-plus stint in Milwaukee.
For the investment the Bucks made in Hill, they envisioned the veteran guard to maintain his status as a key depth contributor behind their championship-contending core. And so far, that vision has proven to be exactly right.