Archived Pages from 20th Century!!
Background: A 6-foot-8 forward with almost unlimited potential, Grant Hill entered the NBA as a highly touted rookie. The son of former Dallas Cowboys running back Calvin Hill, Grant Hill arrived in the NBA with a reputation not only as a big-time basketball player but also as a classy individual who would represent the next generation of superstars. Hill lived up to the billing in his first season, sharing NBA Rookie of the Year honors with the Dallas Mavericks' Jason Kidd.
Hill enjoyed a standout college career at Duke, where as a freshman and a sophomore he was an integral part of a team that won back-to-back NCAA Championships in 1991 and 1992. The winner of the Henry Iba Award as the nation's best defender in his junior year, he scored a career high 18.0 points per game that season. He was a consensus First-Team All-America selection after his senior year.
The Detroit Pistons selected Hill with the third overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. The combination of his spectacular play and his humble demeanor quickly endeared Hill to NBA fans, who voted him a starter in the 1995 NBA All-Star Game. He went on to share co-NBA Rookie of the Year honors with the Mavericks' Jason Kidd after leading the Pistons in scoring, steals, and minutes and placing second in assists and rebounds. Following his outstanding 1994-95 debut season, Hill was named to the 1996 Dream Team, which will compete in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Transactions: Selected by the Detroit Pistons in the first round (third pick overall) of the 1994 NBA Draft.
1994-95: The Detroit Pistons hoped that the arrival of the multitalented Hill would lift them above their 20-62 showing for 1993-94. But his impact on the team's record was minimal (the Pistons posted a 28-54 record in 1994-95), Hill nonetheless had a marvelous rookie season, capped by his selection as co-NBA Rookie of the Year along with the Dallas Mavericks's Jason Kidd.
The Pistons' leading scorer at 19.9 points per game, he was the first Pistons rookie since 1981-82 to score more than 1,000 points (when both Kelly Tripucka and Isiah Thomas did), and he finished the season as Detroit's third-most-prolific rookie scorer behind Tripucka and Dave Bing.
Hill's average ranked him 20th on the 1994-95 NBA scoring list, and he finished eighth in minutes (38.3 per game) and 12th in steals (1.77 per contest). Playing the small forward spot, he showed his versatility by finishing second on the team in rebounds and assists and third in blocked shots.
Hill struck for season highs of 33 points and 16 rebounds against the Boston Celtics on March 25. He matched the 33-point mark on two other occasions before the season was over, and he chalked up the first triple-double of his career on April 7 when he scored 21 points, snagged 11 rebounds, and handed out 10 assists against the Orlando Magic. A sore left foot sidelined him for a dozen games during the season.
Hill also appeared in the 1995 All-Star Game as a starter for the Eastern Conference after becoming the first rookie ever to lead all players in fan voting. He scored 10 points in the contest on 5-of-8 shooting.