While Grant Hill is one of the best NBA players to never win a championship, it does not mean he is without individual accolades, some that he even won in his first year in the NBA.
Did Grant Hill win Rookie of the Year? Grant Hill was co-rookie of the year in 1995, sharing the Rookie of the Year award with Jason Kidd, who was picked one spot ahead of Hill in the draft.
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Having taken a risk by ignoring the wishes of his parents and committing to Duke University, it certainly looked like the right decision four years later when Grant Hill was leaving Duke.
In his four-year career with the Blue Devils, Hill began by winning back-to-back titles on the
Duke teams that were led by Christian Laettner. After Laettner was drafted, Hill became the leader of the team. While Duke did not win a championship in Hill’s last two years, he became ACC Player of the Year as well as a consensus first-team All-American.
It meant that Hill was one of the most highly sought-after players entering the 1994 draft. He would undoubtedly become a top-five pick in the NBA draft. On draft night, it was Purdue’s Glenn Robinson who would be the first overall pick in the draft to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The second overall pick was held by the Dallas Mavericks and they chose California point guard Jason Kidd. Hill was then drafted third overall by the Detroit Pistons, who were coming off the back of a 20-62 season, four years after winning the title thanks to Isiah
Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman.
There were expectations that Hill would become a star for the Pistons and there were some expectations for him to perform well in his rookie season. In his first season, Hill immediately looked like the right choice at third overall by the Pistons.
Alongside ageing veterans like Joe Dumars and Terry Mills, Hill helped the Pistons to eight more wins on the season as Detroit went 28-54. Despite the poor record, Hill was exceptionally good in his first season.
He averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5 assists per game, leading the team in points and second in assists only just behind Joe Dumars. He did this while also averaging 48% from the field which was the best out of the top four scorers on the Pistons. Hill stepped into a starting role straight away, starting 69 games in his first season.
These starting games included an incredible 33-point performance against the Boston Celtics where Hill also collected 16 rebounds, dished out 8 assists and got 3 steals as the Pistons won by one point. Hill also had a 21-point triple-double in a surprise 10-point win over the number one team in the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic.
It led to Hill becoming an all-star in his first season in the NBA. His game was so popular that Hill led the All-Star voting in his first season, becoming the first rookie to do so in any of the four professional leagues. All of these accolades meant that Hill was one of the favourites for the Rookie of the Year award.
The issue for Hill was that the man selected one pick before him and had also had a very good rookie season. Despite the Dallas Mavericks also missing the playoffs, Kidd was Hill’s biggest competitor for the Rookie of the Year crown.
It was because Kidd had stepped up in his rookie season and become the primary ball handler for the Mavericks. Kidd averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Despite Hill being considered the better all-around player and being 5 inches taller than Kidd, it was the point guard who led the NBA in triple-doubles.
Despite this, Hill was still the favourite to win the Rookie of the Year award as his stats were just a little better than Kidd’s. Despite this, the voters ended up with a very surprising result, likely because of how poor the Pistons were despite Hill’s performances.
With a total of 105 voting points available, both Hill and Kidd received 43 points and were tied for first. With a shared first place, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill shared the Rookie of the Year title, both becoming Co-Rookie of the Year.
This is not the first time that two players have had to share the Rookie of the Year award. In 1971, Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie tied for first in voting for Rookie of the Year. The pair shared the award just as Hill and Kidd did in 1995.
Surprisingly, the exact same happened five years later with Elton Brand and Steve Francis sharing the Rookie of the Year award, having been the first and second overall picks in the 1999 draft. Since then, we have not seen a tie in the first place voting for the Rookie of the Year award.
While Grant Hill shared the NBA Rookie of the Year award, he was the sole winner of the Sporting News Rookie of the Year award. There were quite a few people who believed that Hill deserved to solely hold the award, but the voters clearly did not think that.
Did Grant Hill win an NBA MVP
Grant Hill had a storied NBA career that was altered by injury. Sadly for Hill, he never quite reached his full potential due to consistent ankle injuries. It meant that Grant Hill never won an NBA MVP.
It doesn’t mean that Hill did not come close to winning an MVP award despite his prime years being taken away by injury. He came closest in the 1996-1997 season.
Grant Hill had an exceptional year, averaging 21.4 points, 9 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game as the Detroit Pistons went 54-28 and reached the playoffs. Sadly for Hill, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan were the two outstanding candidates and Hill finished third, never coming closer than third despite an even better year in 1999-2000.