The Grant Hill experiment on the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t pan out as many expected. Outside of the quarter where he shut down Carmelo Anthony and prevented him from scoring 50-plus points, Hill spent majority of his time as a Clipper on the sideline dealing with injury. When the season ended, he walked away from the game retiring after a lofty NBA career. Hill, now 41, is a member of the media as he is the co-host of NBA TV’s Inside Stuff where interviewing players is apart of his show duties.
In an interview with Sean Highkin of USA Today Sports, he spoke on a few things pertaining to the Clippers including the type of head coach Doc Rivers is
On Doc Rivers and the team’s chemistry
Last year, the chemistry was off the charts. I think you had seven or eight new guys last season, and you put them together and instantly the team gelled and got off to a blazing start. You don’t see that too often. You certainly have a majority of the guys returning (this year) and continuing with that sort of togetherness. And you’ve added guys who fit into the mold and want to play for a championship. They’re going to buy into Doc Rivers and buy into each other and play for each other.
On the expectations having Doc Rivers creates
Doc’s a different coach now than he was when I played for him. He was young, and obviously he went on to Boston and had great success there, won a championship (in 2008) and learned how to coach great players and teams with great expectations. So I think there was obviously great attraction on his part to come to this team.
You don’t just come in right away and turn things around, but I think he’s changed the culture to a degree, bringing in a championship pedigree and championship expectations to everything they do.
On the type of coach Rivers was in Orlando
I think one of the things with Doc is that he was always a great communicator. He always had the ability to relate to guys. Part of being a coach is the ability to sell guys on what you’re preaching. Obviously he had a great career in television, and his ability to communicate and to connect with guys is one of his more admirable qualities. He had all the experience to be a great coach, and I think over time he’s become a wonderful coach.
On the improvement of DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre’s playing the way we all thought. We all saw that potential in him. I think metally, it was a question of whether he could commit to that, and this year he’s become that player. We all saw it in glimpses (last year), but we’re starting to see it on a consistent basis this year. I think it just sort of speaks to Doc, saying those things about DeAndre publicly showed that he endorsed him and he believed in him. There were talks about trading him before Doc came in, that maybe DeAndre wouldn’t be there. Doc has just been able to connect, recognizing things in his personality, and getting him on the same page and getting him to buy in. DeAndre’s been a model citizen. I’m sure there are ways he can improve, but he’s embraced the role Doc has him in, and he’s thrived in that role. Regardless of what happens this year, I think DeAndre comes back next year and he’s even better and potentially an All-Star.
To read the rest of the interview — Hill also speaks on the NCAA tournament and how it feels to interview ex-teammates — make sure to check out Highkin’s piece.