Before he joined the Phoenix Suns, Grant Hill had played parts of 12 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic.
However, in the six seasons prior to his first in the Valley, Hill had played in a total of 200 games — or an average of just 33 per season.
Needless to say, the former All-Star’s health concerns led to some believing there wasn’t much left in the tank for the veteran, but Steve Kerr, who was the Suns’ general manager when the team brought Hill in, said that wasn’t the case in Phoenix.
“He didn’t have that much mileage on him despite his age because he had several years away with the foot injury,” Kerr told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Monday. “We had so much faith in Aaron Nelson and our staff that they could get him to a real good place.”
They did just that.
Hill spent five seasons in Phoenix, posting 12.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, all while emerging as a defensive stopper. He played roughly 30 minutes per night while averaging more than 72 games per season.
“We got several great seasons out of him,” Kerr said, adding he had no idea Hill would play five seasons for the team. “I think we were hoping we could get two or three good years out of him, and we got five.
Hill’s longevity was not the only thing that impressed Kerr, who is now a TNT NBA analyst. Hill, who was an elite scorer early in his career, reinvented himself as he aged.
“He was fantastic defensively and he evolved offensively,” Kerr said. “Whatever role you needed, he became.
“And the numbers and the descriptions can’t even describe what he means to the locker room, the professionalism and the chemistry and all that stuff.”
In short, Kerr said, “Grant’s absolutely one of my all-time favorite people.”