Tony Parker on George Hill: ‘He was a great teammate’
Pacers point guard George Hill and San Antonio’s Tony Parker have a brother-like relationship that dates back to 2008, when Hill was selected by the Spurs with the 26th overall in the NBA Draft. For the next three years, Hill grew close to Parker, along with Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich, among others.
“He’s like my little brother,” Parker said of Hill before his Spurs team handed the Pacers their worst home loss in more than four years. “He was one of the best backups I’ve ever had. He’s very talented, can do a lot on the basketball court and his mentality … he’s very unselfish wanting to win.
“He was a perfect Spurs player. In the NBA business, it’s tough, and I was very happy that he got a great opportunity to be a starter on a winning team and back home. That’s great for him. But we definitely miss him. He was a great teammate.”
Since day one, Parker took a young Hill out of IUPUI under his wing. He worked with Hill on his tear drop, among many other things. Parker said he does consider himself a mentor of Hill’s.
“He knows my phone is always open and he can call me anytime he wants if he wants some advice,” said Parker. “We definitely stay in touch and I definitely watch what he’s doing because we had some great times together.”
Parker disagreed with the notion that Hill isn’t aggressive enough on the floor. With four very talented pieces surrounding Hill in the starting lineup, he’s asked to help run the offense, be the coach on the floor and bother the opponent’s point guard.
“I feel like that’s a little bit unfair to him not his team because they have Paul George, he’s the main guy, and then you got Roy Hibbert and then you got David West,” Parker said. “You have a lot of scorers already and George is a type of guy that he’s not going to force it. He’s a team-(first) guy and he’s very unselfish.
“If you put him in the position to be aggressive, he’ll do it. He can score. George just took that role to be unselfish and he’s just being a great point guard. He’s going to play defense and he’s going to pass the ball.”
The ‘Hometown Hero’ is no doubt honored and proud to play for the Pacers. But, still today, Hill is thankful to be drafted by the Spurs, such a successful and first-class organization that made him the player he is today. He calls San Antonio his second home and typically spends much of his offseason down there.
Parker is the leader of the Spurs, who just posted an NBA-best 16-0 record in March, and have the best overall record, 58-16. As a three-time NBA Champion, he weighed in on what he’s seeing with the Pacers, who’ve lost five of their last six games.
“That happens to every team,” he said. “You have ups and downs during the season but when the playoffs starts, it’s a different story. It’s a whole new season when the playoffs starts.
“I’m not worried about them. They’ll be ready when the playoffs start.”