Pacers small forward Solomon Hill has maintained a positive attitude despite falling out of coach Frank Vogel‘s regular rotation, which could have been an issue for the player seeing as he’s in the final year of his contract, Mark Montieth of NBA.com writes. “I have to keep being upbeat,” Hill said. “If I was down in the gutter and C.J. Miles went out and I was thrown out there and I’m not ready, it’s just going to show why I shouldn’t be playing. It’s days like this that show my hard work is paying off.” Hill also noted that he’s aware that he has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate, but insists he doesn’t want to leave Indiana, even if it would mean more playing time, Montieth adds. “I’m an Indiana Pacer,” he said. “They drafted me. I’d definitely love to be here and be part of something great with this team. We have the makings of a special team. We have the potential to be one of the top two teams in the East.”
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- Marcus Morris is excelling for the Pistons and he should be given a larger role in the offense, David Mayo of MLive.com argues. Morris isn’t pushing for more shots, as he thinks more opportunities will come within the offensive system. “At the end of the day, coach does a great job of getting me the ball, finding spots for me to get the ball in my isos and my posts, so I’m not really too worried about whether I’m going to get my shots up, because half the time I know they’re going to come,” Morris said. “It’s more just the ball-movement thing.”
- With so many players returning from injury, the Cavs realize it’s going to take time for the team to gel, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. “Just because guys are coming back doesn’t mean everything is going to be right,” LeBron James said. “It’s going to take time because for the first eight weeks we had built chemistry, we knew who was playing, we knew who wasn’t playing. We had rotations, Coach had rotations down, so we got to get back to that.”
- The solid play of rookie Bobby Portis for the Bulls will make it difficult for coach Fred Hoiberg to sit him when Joakim Noah returns from injury, writes Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com. “He’s not afraid of the moment that’s for sure,” Hoiberg said of Portis. “To be 20 years old and go out there, big minutes against Oklahoma City in a game on Christmas Day on ABC, it shows you what the kid’s makeup is all about. The kid’s got no concern, just thrives and has all kinds of confidence. You love to see that. He’s not gonna back down from anybody.”
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.