The Oklahoma City Thunder announced midday Tuesday that shooting-guard George Hill would be out a minimum of four weeks after having a procedure done on his right thumb. George’s will miss out on the rest of the team’s first block of games, which concludes March 4 against the Spurs.
George Hill has been an integral part to the team upon his acquisition to the team in late November. The 34-year-old has started in all 14 of his appearances this year, averaging 11.8 points and 3.1 assists, while shooting 38.6% from three and leading the team converting on catch and shoot’s, converting on 47.5% of his shots to this point.
Hill’s complimentary style of play alongside point-guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will make his job a tough void to fill. His knack at being able to play second fiddle or superhero in the blink of an eye has made him a mainstay at the two to this point.
Who to look out for in potential replacements?
Expect for rookie Theo Maledon to be a front-runner to absorb Hill’s minutes in his absence. Maledon has averaged 13 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steals in his four games in the starting lineup, Maledon’s biggest question mark heading into the season was his jumper— that has not been an issue while starting. Maledon’s 57% shooting from downtown is an eye-brow raiser, and even when you toss out his 6/6 game vs. the Nets, he shot 40% from outside across his other three games. The 19-year-old has gradually unlocked new parts of his game through the first two months of the season, so it would not be a surprise to see him continuing to do so alongside SGA.
Hamidou Diallo has evolved into the Breakfast Club’s scoring leader, posting a bench high 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Diallo’s tendency to try to take over the game has been utilized best this season paired with the second unit, so he may stay put in the depth chart, but an uptick from 20 to 25 minutes is reasonable.
With the assignment of Ty Jerome to the G-League, there is no true fourth guard on the roster available. Some of these 26 minutes could very well trickle to members of the frontcourt in plays such as Kenrich Williams, Isaiah Roby, Justin Jackson, and Darius Miller.