StatsCube: The Suns’ Stopper?


The Phoenix Suns are not a good defensive team. They currently rank 23rd defensively, allowing 106.9 points per 100 possessions. This is nothing new, of course. Since Steve Nash returned to Phoenix in 2004, the Suns have ranked no better than 13th defensively, with an average ranking of 18.

But this season, some have called for Grant Hill to receive consideration for an All-Defensive Team selection. (He received two First Team votes and zero Second Team votes last season.)

Hill drew more praise from Brent Barry and Chris Webber Tuesday night on TNT, after he did an admirable job defending Kobe Bryant in a 139-137, triple-OT classic in L.A. Bryant scored a game-high 42 points and was relatively efficient (15-for-31 from the field, 3-for-5 from 3-point range, 9-for-11 from the line) in doing so. But Hill made Mamba work for his points, frustrating him at times.

You would have to have watched the game to appreciate the work that Hill put in defensively, because the numbers just don’t spell it out. Bryant’s True Shooting Percentage for the night (.586) was higher than his number for the season (.548).

True Shooting Percentage = Points / (2 x (FGA + (.44 x FTA)))

Over 67 games though, the numbers should give us a pretty good idea of what kind of defensive impact Hill makes on the Suns and their opponents.

According to NBA.com StatsCube, the Suns have actually allowed fewer points per 100 possessions with Hill on the bench (106.4) than they have with him on the floor (107.2). But the same is true of Dwight Howard this season — basically because starters generally face more potent offenses than the reserves do.

Hill has also had the defensive disadvantage of playing 86 percent of his minutes with Nash and 71 percent of his minutes with Channing Frye, two guys who will never receive All-Defensive Team consideration, and who clearly hurt Hill’s on-court defensive numbers.

But by looking a little deeper, we can see that Hill does make an impact. When they’re playing alongside Hill, Nash and Frye’s numbers are much better than when Hill is on the bench.

Suns’ defensive efficiency

Player on floor Hill on floor Hill off floor
Frye 105.5 107.2
Nash 105.6 110.6

Still, when it comes to slowing down the league’s stars, Hill has had mixed results. Beyond Tuesday night, Bryant has been pretty efficient against the Suns all season, with a True Shooting Percentage of .595 over four games. They’ve had a little more success slowing down some of the league’s other top scorers.

True Shooting Percentage vs. Phoenix

Player FGM FGA FG% Pts PPG TS% Season TS% Diff.
Carmelo Anthony 17 37 0.459 50 16.7 0.557 0.548 +0.008
Kobe Bryant 44 87 0.506 116 29.0 0.595 0.548 +0.046
Kevin Durant 19 49 0.388 70 23.3 0.540 0.589 -0.050
Eric Gordon 25 55 0.455 66 22.0 0.556 0.585 -0.029
LeBron James 22 37 0.595 56 28.0 0.669 0.587 +0.082
Kevin Martin 19 44 0.432 59 19.7 0.563 0.603 -0.040
TOTAL 146 309 0.472 417 23.2 0.578 0.575 +0.002

The numbers say the Suns and Hill have defended Durant, Gordon and Martin pretty well. But overall, they haven’t really forced this group to score less efficiently.

Is Hill worthy of consideration for an All-Defensive Team selection?

Yes.

But putting him among the top 10 defenders in the league may be a stretch.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

23 Comments

  1. Booman says:

    Hill is the best player ive seen, next to JORDAN, if wasnt to his injuries i guess kobe, lebron and other wanna be wont have a career bec hill will dominate. only three player had my respect in basketball. Grant Hill, Steve Nash and Iverson

  2. Gerald says:

    At that age Grant Hill still a force. Truly an Ironman.

  3. Wilt says:

    truthfully if you wanna go off stat the great wilt chamberlain would be the greatest

  4. Wout says:

    Hill should be on the first team all-defense, he’s that good. It should be Paul, Hill, Iguodala, ??? and Howard

  5. beast says:

    Hey grim… ‘yew’ a loser…

  6. gRiM says:

    MOUNTAIN MAN yew are ridiculous jordan had pippen who was better than gasol…thats common sense and he had role players…do yew even kno wut that is? lol

  7. ketakobe24or8 says:

    its tru grant has developed into a great defensive player as of late its the experience factor and he plays smart and big. JORDAN WAS GREAT BUT HE NEEDED PIPPEN PERIOD. And Lebron has had da best record the last 2 years so people talkin he didnt have a team are fools u dont get the best record without a good team.And at this point in lebron career Kobe or MJ ALREADY HAD RINGS

  8. team sport says:

    2 words = team sport
    all these comparisons are retarded. lakers buy their championships? you try doing it. A lot of factors are behind the scene, starting from the owners all the way to the fans. kobe, jordan never one a championship, their team did, unless they can 1v5. just count rings, why would lebron in the conversation, he has no rings. as for comparing kobe and jordan, they have both different teams and competition in different eras.
    therefore, just keep it simple, count rings

  9. ekusonas says:

    Why are we discussing other players under this page, This article is about Grant Hill developing to a very good defensive player [despite his age] . Anyway Grant Hill was also one of the best players during his time at Detroit.

  10. BC says:

    It did not
    1. explain how True Shooting Percentage is come up,
    2. include players made less shot when guarded by Hill,
    3. deduct the FG when Hill is off the floor.

    So True Shooting Percentage vs. Phoenix and his conclusion are completely meaningless.

  11. mjisgreatest says:

    oh my bad by the way the bulls only made it to game 7 in the second round of the playoffs after jordan retired

  12. mjisgreatest says:

    hey mj is the greatest in my opinoin but to say that he had nobody is naive… haha i mean come on pippen was good defensivly he led that team to the east conferance finals when jordan retired dude plus they had one of the top 3 rebounders of all time and amazing defender in rodman. luc longly wasnt that bad he did his job plus ron harper, horace grant these were great players. so lets not say he had nobody his team was good even without him

  13. lebrongoodbutnotgoodenough says:

    kobe is clutch lets not say that the media is making him more than what he is because that is stupid. I am a huge laker fan and a big kobe fan. while kobe has hit 53 game winners in his career lebron has hit 2…. really. Kobe has won five championships lebron had choked. people say its becuase of his team. his team one 67 games last year… im pretty sure his team didnt suck. then people say oh but look at the caves now…. ummm.. new coach, new players lost their bigs, and lebron so that left them with hickson at center ya good luck with that haha and im just going to let you know that lebron wont win a championship this year or next either. MJ won his first after 7 years in the league. so lets not compare those two either. lebron is a great player i think what he can do makes him one of the best of all time. but it takes more then amazing stats to win the big one just ask wilt chamberlin.

  14. Mountain man says:

    Grim you are very naive. Kobe has always had players surrounding him to win it all. Kobe isn’t better than Lebron and Lebron isn’t better than Kobe. If anything they are both equally gaping vaginas. Kobe threatened to leave the team because he wasn’t getting any help when Shaq left. Then Lakers got a steal with the best Center in the League or you can call him a power forward whatever makes you feel better. Gasol that was the dumbest trade ever. Kobe folded that trade rumor like a paper airplane. Memphis was clearing cap space. And Lakers got a break because they are the highest most expensive franchise in the NBA. Hense why they win Championships they buy them plain and simple. Lebron does the same thing except Cleveland didn’t make a move at all. So Lebron who you guys call the best leaves like a puss to try to chase a championship. Nobody wants to earn a ring these days with the players they have. Everybody always wants to jump ship. I agree with Enigma M.J greatest of all time. Look who Jordan had Luc Longley have you seen him play as a C. Jordan was by himself out there. Pippen was good defensively. But the there was no role players on the bulls. Like Stockton and Malone. Like Penny and Shaq. Like Duncan, Parker and Ginoboli. Jordan had nothing. Still single handedly drove his team to championships. Best to ever play so far. Jordan didn’t need to ask for trades because he was the team. He is the only player I know that could win a championship no matter what team he was on.

  15. Enigma says:

    M.J is the greatest of all time!!!!Nough said

  16. gRiM says:

    yew lebron fans are so stupid comparing an old man(kobe) to a young lebron…lebron could never even come close to kobes achievements in the nba all those stats dont mean anything…seriously they are pointless if yew watched every single game kobe has played over the years there would be absolutely nothing to debate about lebron could never hit 9 three pointers in a row or hit 12 in a game or score over 60 or make the shots kobe has…honestly mj couldnt even come close to wut the black mamba has done any laker fan over the past 10 years have witnessed the real greatest of all time and if yew werent watchin every game that kobe played then yew cant talk about him not being clutch and sukks fer yew yer still stukk in the mj and fake king(lebron) era

    • No D? says:

      MJ couldn’t even come close to what Kobe has done? Seriously? Jordan averaged over 30 ppg on the season 8 times in his career. Kobe has done it twice. In the playoffs Jordan didn’t average over 30 ppg one time, his rookie season in which he averaged 29.3 ppg. Kobe has only averaged over 30 in the playoffs only 4 times in comparison. There is a reason why Jordan is the greatest of all time. Maybe you should go back and watch all of Jordan’s games.

  17. anthony says:

    i agree at the age of 38 grant hill does deserve praise for his exceptional defensive abilities, throughout his career, through all his injuries to do what hes doing now at his age deserves praise. as for the suns with nash , hill and carter they can make a serious playoff push if all on the same page not to mention how gortat has flourished playing with nash…..nash is a modern day hall of famer and he doesnt get the credit he deserves…go suns

  18. kobenocloser says:

    Kobe fans hate stats because they are a reminder of Lebron superiority as a player, Kobe could not close anything against the suns, the press does not mention that, but stats will record it

  19. kobenocloser says:

    last 5 games kobe only 35% shooting and still lakers win, he is not MVP

  20. prix' says:

    Great game…look how the Suns play the lakers they could probably demolish the Spurs without Tim in the first round…with Nash,Hill and Vince nothing is imposible..wicked SUNS…

  21. Blueprint says:

    Damn, LeBron with a 67% TS% against the Suns. That would be more impressive if it wasn’t against a 38 year old though.
    and lol @ ^ Laker fanboy. Hill held “Mr. Clutch” to 1-8 shooting before Hill fouled out. Even more proof of Kobe’s overrated clutchness. Disgusting how the media has overrated even one of the greatest players of all time.

  22. chu dc says:

    Nobody can stop the Black Mamba!