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Brian Hill Interview




| Oct. 19, 2005

Brian HillThe 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: Whats the right way to use Steve Francis? How can you best win with him on your club?

Hill: Well, I havent really gotten into that debate or that situation. Were running out of a mostly two-guard style offense right now with a lot of ball movement and player movement. It really doesnt really matter in our scheme of things who brings the ball up the floor, whether its the one, two or three man or who initiates who offense. Steve has done a very good job to date of grasping what were trying to do offensively. Hes been our quarterback out there on the floor. Hes been asking a lot of good questions about the offense. So far hes done an excellent job. We havent 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. Were just trying to play out of movement, you know, ball movement and player movement. Im 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 Howards development?

Hill: My expectations for Dwight are just to keep getting better and better with each game as we move through the season. Dwight didnt get a lot of touches in the low post last year. He was primarily an offensive rebounder or a scorer in transition. But if were going to be an offensive team, were going to need some sort of an inside presence and right now I think Dwight is our best interior offensive player. Weve got to bring him along slowly. Hes not a polished offensive player yet, but were going to force feed him a bit through the exhibition season and part of the regular season. Thats the only way hes going to develop in that role. Hes done a very good job, but hes still got a lot to go. A lot of people have very high expectations for him, and I think hell meet those expectations but its 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 hes 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. Thats very common after a guys been out for a long time. That first year back youre 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 hes 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 Im going to cut his minutes back or not, you know, Grant knows his body a whole lot better than I do, and thats something that well communicate together and well make those decisions jointly based on how his body feels. Then well watch his progress through the year and if it feels like hes feeling a little run down or worn down we can always cut back a little bit. Right now he knows what hes been through and knows his body and situation so much better than I do that Im 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, weve started Steve alongside of DeShawn Stevenson and Keyon Dooling in exhibition games so far. And before the exhibition season is over hell 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 theyre out there. Steve can play the two and in some cases Keyon can play the two. With Jameer out there, hes obviously going to be on the point. Were 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 its kind of a tossup. We can play the same way with all four guys on the floor, but defensively its a bit of a different look when we have one of our smaller points alongside of Steve.

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