Brian Hill Interview
The 2005-06 NBA season starts soon. Here's what Orlando Magic head coach Brian Hill said about his team and the upcoming season on a recent conference call:
Q: What’s the right way to use Steve Francis? How can you best win with him on your club?
Hill: Well, I haven’t really gotten into that debate or that situation. We’re running out of a mostly two-guard style offense right now with a lot of ball movement and player movement. It really doesn’t really matter in our scheme of things who brings the ball up the floor, whether it’s the one, two or three man or who initiates who offense. Steve has done a very good job to date of grasping what we’re trying to do offensively. He’s been our quarterback out there on the floor. He’s been asking a lot of good questions about the offense. So far he’s done an excellent job. We haven’t tried to put in a lot of special things yet to get a lot of special plays for either he, or Grant Hill or Dwight Howard. We’re just trying to play out of movement, you know, ball movement and player movement. I’m really not that particular maybe as everybody else is at defining him as either a pointing guard or a shooting guard.
Q: Could you talk about Dwight Howard’s development?
Hill: My expectations for Dwight are just to keep getting better and better with each game as we move through the season. Dwight didn’t get a lot of touches in the low post last year. He was primarily an offensive rebounder or a scorer in transition. But if we’re going to be an offensive team, we’re going to need some sort of an inside presence and right now I think Dwight is our best interior offensive player. We’ve got to bring him along slowly. He’s not a polished offensive player yet, but we’re going to force feed him a bit through the exhibition season and part of the regular season. That’s the only way he’s going to develop in that role. He’s done a very good job, but he’s still got a lot to go. A lot of people have very high expectations for him, and I think he’ll meet those expectations but it’s not going to be instantaneous. He still has a lot to learn on the offensive and defensive end, but he has the attitude and the work ethic to be a very good basketball player and in time I think he’s going to be an excellent player.
Q: What do you anticipate from Grant Hill this season? Has he reached a point where you may play him fewer minutes due to age?
Hill: Listening to Grant in our conversations together he feels much better than he did a year ago at this time. He feels more athletic, quicker and has better timing out there on the floor. That’s very common after a guy’s been out for a long time. That first year back you’re still getting that rust off and the second year you feel a whole lot better. I consider him one of the leaders of our basketball team. He sets the example day in and day out in practice with the way that he works. Not so much that he’s a vocal guy, but the way that he works and talking to people, especially the younger players and keeping everyone together out there. I expect him to have a very good year. Whether I’m going to cut his minutes back or not, you know, Grant knows his body a whole lot better than I do, and that’s something that we’ll communicate together and we’ll make those decisions jointly based on how his body feels. Then we’ll watch his progress through the year and if it feels like he’s feeling a little run down or worn down we can always cut back a little bit. Right now he knows what he’s been through and knows his body and situation so much better than I do that I’m going to listen to him for the most part as to how his minutes are going to be played early in the season.
Q: Who do you expect to start with Francis at the other guard position?
Hill: Well, we’ve started Steve alongside of DeShawn Stevenson and Keyon Dooling in exhibition games so far. And before the exhibition season is over he’ll probably start alongside Jameer Nelson so they all get an equal opportunity and we get to see them play alongside each other. If we have DeShawn in the lineup, and DeShawn is the bigger and stronger of our guards, and has done a good job of playing opposing two-guards right now with Steve on the point guard. With Jameer and Keyon Dooling, those guys give us a little more ball pressure when they’re out there. Steve can play the two and in some cases Keyon can play the two. With Jameer out there, he’s obviously going to be on the point. We’re just going to get a little different look defensively with some of the other smaller guards playing alongside of Steve because of ball pressure. With DeShawn out there we have a bigger presence on bigger two-guards. Offensively it’s kind of a tossup. We can play the same way with all four guys on the floor, but defensively it’s a bit of a different look when we have one of our smaller points alongside of Steve.
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