George Hill tweeting 26 angry, pouting-face emojis after a loss should be self-explanatory.
But in today’s social media age, where passive-aggressive shots are the norm, the Kings guard explained the tweet after Saturday’s 109-104 loss in Milwaukee was a result of frustration on and off the court, and not aimed at anyone.
“As a competitor, you get upset with yourself, with the way I was playing,” Hill said after Monday’s practice. “ Losing a game like that where I thought we should have won, just a little frustration. You’ve got some things like that and some things that’s going on in my everyday life that I was really affected by, just from a standpoint of things back home, not at my house, but back in my home state (Indiana) that kind of disturbed me a little bit.”
Hill scored just six points against the Bucks. He was part of the starting lineup that was pulled after less than four minutes, when the Kings faced a 14-point deficit.
“The way that we started the game, down 14-0, just didn’t sit well with me,” Hill said. “I’m one of the leaders here, so that affected me. I felt like I let my team down.”
Hill is still figuring out how to best fit his game into what the Kings are doing. He’s averaging 8.9 points after a career-high 16.9 points last season with Utah. The point guard is playing off the ball more at shooting guard, something he hasn’t done a lot of since his rookie season in San Antonio.
The adjustment is tougher because the Kings have 10 players with up to three seasons of experience on the main roster and rely on a lot of them nightly.
“I think on every team I’ve been with, we’ve had that cohesiveness and a lot of veterans that played multiple years in the league, so it was easy to kind of fill in,” Hill said. “I feel like here we’re, so young it’s kind of difficult to figure out what’s going to be my direction, what’s going to be my style of play, what’s this guy’s role or my role. We’re still trying to learn those things.”
There’s also the struggle to find the balance between being a mentor to so many youngsters. Hill said many of the Kings “are still babies” in their NBA development that includes just one year of college basketball.
So they aren’t just trying to figure out the NBA game, they also have to sort out life away from court, too. So he expected it would take time for the Kings to figure out how to play together.
“Right now we’re just trying to teach the young guys and mentor them,” Hill said. “In the long run, our whole job is try to build this for them to take over and have the keys. It’s not about me, Vince (Carter), Garrett (Temple) or any of us. It’s about how can we develop the young guys to the best of our ability.”
Hill said he’s seeing signs of growth. They’re learning how to put together consistently good practices, but the next step is how to put together consecutive good efforts in games.
Hill said he and the starters have to play better early in games, but the most important thing is he just wants “to win the game.”
It will take time for the Kings to learn how to string wins together.
“It’s going to be a roller coaster for us, up and down, with playing time, shots may not be going in and trying to figure out different styles and different combinations of guys on and off the court,” Hill said. “It’s going to be a long season and we know that. We’ve just got to keep chipping away at it and find out how we can be better every day.”