Hill powers Sixers' climb back

Brown credits forward as key to turnaround

April 12, 2000|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

PHILADELPHIA -- Known as a gambler for the numerous risky trades he's made since arriving in Philadelphia in May 1997, 76ers coach Larry Brown admits that the best deal he never made was sending away forward Tyrone Hill.

The regular season still has five games left, and the Sixers have managed 45 wins already. Ask Brown why that is, and the first words from his mouth don't refer to Allen Iverson, the team's youth, or the fact that Matt Geiger has finally gotten physical.

It's Hill's exploits that have Brown delighted these days, and Hill and the rest of the Sixers will face the hapless Washington Wizards tonight at the First Union Center.

"I don't know if we can stop guys from getting hurt, but he's been hurt and played through it," Brown said of Hill. "I think he's been so consistent. We talk so much about (forward) George Lynch and what he brings every night, what (guards) Eric Snow and Aaron McKie bring every night. In terms of doing the little things, Tyrone is that kind of player.

"His defense on one of the best players in our league [Alonzo Mourning on Monday] was remarkable. And then when I came in [Tuesday] morning and looked at the film, it was even better than I thought. I'm just real pleased. The guy's a pro."

Although he averages 11.9 points and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds per game, Hill didn't need this season to prove his value. From the moment the former all-star forward (1994-95) joined the team on March 11, 1999, in the Tim Thomas trade, he has been the Sixers' best post player.

Theo Ratliff is a shot blocker. Matt Geiger is a jump shooter. Neither is a banger, nor had they ever been asked to post and score. Hill knew that, which explains why he wasn't pleased sitting on the bench as a reserve last season.

This season, Hill became a starter.

"My philosophy is to just go out and do what you got to do, and everything will take care of itself," Hill said. "If you go out there and play hard, rebound, and do the little things, you'll get rewarded. I've been like that since I've been in the league."

Meetings: The NBA Board of Governors approved new owners for the Dallas Mavericks, Vancouver Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets and were updated on plans for a new developmental league scheduled to begin in November 2001.

Also, three rules changes were approved for the 2001-02 season, the most notable of which will eliminate the delay-of-game warning on inbounds plays in the final two minutes.

Commissioner David Stern said the NBA plans to start its own, centrally run developmental league with eight to 10 teams in small-market cities.

Stern also said talks continue with Continental Basketball Association owner Isiah Thomas about merging that league with the NBA's new league.

The Board of Governors approved Mark Cuban as the new owner of the Mavericks and Michael Heisley as the new owner of the Grizzlies.

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