Season Recap/Notes: Darrun Hilliard.

In case you missed it, here is Reggie Bullock's recap.And you can follow the chain through to any others you might have missed.

'

Follow along with all the stats on basketball reference.Any stats not readily available there will be linked to or otherwise noted.

'

**Disclaimer:* Obviously Hilliard did not play very much this season. All stats and observations come with the asterisk of small sample size.

'

'

The Good:

He might actually end up being ok. Which is an accomplishment for a 2nd round pick. The reality is that the majority of 2nd rounders are out of the league within just a year or two. Whereas Hilliard showed enough promise in his limited time that he should have no problems making the team next season. He showed that his 4 years of college had paid off to the extent of him being a fairly polished offensive player, canning 38% of his 3s, and showing some ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop. If you look at his shot chartthere is a clear trend of him being most comfortable shooting from the left side of the floor, and finishing with his left hand in the paint. (Also he took a lot more shots at the hoop than I had thought.) The couple of times he filled in and played actual minutes he generally did not look totally lost on the court. Combine his NBA numbers with his 3 D-League games(of which I was at 2 of them) and there is some good evidence for Hilliard being a legit scorer, as he absolutely tore up D-League defenses while there.

'

'

The Bad:

His defense was, um, not good. Even in the D-League games (once again, I was at 2 of them, and actually watched the 3rd on youtube. Quick shoutout here and reminder that you can watch any D-League games for free on youtube.So if you want to go back and see how Hilliard/Dinwiddie looked. Or anyone this coming season, you can do that very easily.) he was not all that good defensively. He clearly is not the sort of super athlete who will ever be a great defender, and he is a rookie so some struggles are expected. But as a 4 year college player, I would have liked him to be a little more ready defensively. And to expand on that thought, is that Hilliard may be a rookie, Hilliard is actually a little older than Andre Drummond, and only about 100 days younger than KCP. Point being is that he does not have as much time to grow into his game. Obviously he will improve, but it is not likely he will make huge improvements from where he was this season.

The other worry that I have is that Hilliard did not show a whole lot of promise in areas other than scoring. His defense was bad, his passing was nothing special, and he was a bit of a ball stopper when he was on the floor. This is not the end of the world obviously, but once again, for a 4 year college player, I would have liked him to be a little bit more polished/savy as a passer and off ball player than he showed.

'

'

Biggest Answer?

Once again, that he is probably worth having on the roster for at least one more season. (and probably his whole rookie contract) Because even if he doesn't improve at all from here, he at least is capable of stepping in occasionally (whether due to injury or foul trouble) and at least be able to shoot and create a little offense. And once again, there are lots of 2nd round picks who are clearly not NBA players very quickly. (Think Peyton Siva.)

'

'

Biggest Question?

How much more can he develop? Once again, he is 23 years old already, so he is not a total baby. As of right now he needs to significantly improve his defensive play or make good on the flashes of being able to get his own shot and become a really solid scorer. (Best ending here of course is that he improves both.) Because while he showed some ability to score, he also showed tendencies of being a bit of a ball stopping chucker. Just thinking back to Reggie Bullock, whenever Bullock gets the ball, he almost never just stands with it. He either shoots, passes, or makes an immediate move to the hoop. (Which is a big positive to Bullock's game.) Hilliard on the other hand, (unless he has an open shot of course) almost always likes to catch the ball, stand, maybe dribble a couple of times, and then try a couple of moves to try and get some space. This was evident both in his games with the Drive and the Pistons. That is ok to do if you are really good at it, but if he is not really good at scoring from those situations, then he is not really allowed to catch the ball and just dribble aimlessly for a few seconds. So he has to either become a solid chucker type, or learn better defense. HOWEVA, the upside there is nice. If he can make good on his offensive potential, and learn to be a decent defender then he could be a killer 6th man type bench player who can create offense with the bench mob, and also be a 3 and D type with the starters when needed.

'

'

What do you think? Where do you see Hilliard ending up fitting as a player? Let me know! We all get smarter!