News broke yesterday that the San Antonio Spurs signed guard Darrun Hilliard to a two-way contract which will see him play some time with the G-League in Austin and in San Antonio.
Hilliard, at 6’6” weighing 220lbs, has potential to do well in the NBA and should flourish with San Antonio.
Drafted in the second out of Villanova by the Detroit Pistons in 2015, the former Wildcat has shown the ability to come off screens designed for the multi-positional guard behind the arc. He has a "James Harden-esque" jumper, and can tee it off from deep if given the space.
Though he only played 77 NBA games, averaging 3.6 points per game off 38% shooting, you can see the tools he can provide the Spurs during his time in the G-League.
Granted, these may be only G-League highlights, but if anyone can maximize a players’ potential, it’s head coach Gregg Popovich. Just look at what he’s done for both the careers of Jonathan Simmons and DeWayne Dedmon most recently.
Adding to the lure of what he can bring to the Spurs is his experience this summer with Team USA.
Darrun played with the gold-medal winning 2017 AmeriCup team and showed aggressiveness to the rim, a quick floater, a mid-range game, and more of that nice shooting touch. Not only is Hilliard’s shot beautiful to watch, but he also has a great feel for the game in anticipation of when to cut to the basket.
In addidtion, Darrun was named to the FIBA AmeriCup All-Tournament team, averaging 13.4 points, 40.3% shooting in 22.8 minutes per game.
The only question is whether or not he can play defense during training camp and if he can knock down the 3-point shot. With Team USA this summer, he shot a paltry 11.8% (2-17) from a shorter 3-point line than in the NBA.
It's obvious the Spurs have been stockpiling guards over the summer and are looking for players who can fit into the modern-era of play in the NBA - push the ball, shoot lights out from deep, and quick transition. Expect him to push the other guards heading into training camp and excel in Austin.