Originally posted in the Hoops Forum:

This is just from ONE article… ESPN’s Daily Dime for today.

On Grant Hill

Grant Hill has experienced devastating injuries, having appeared in more than 30 games only once in his first five seasons in Orlando.
Most would have retired long ago.

But it’s a testament to his strength of will, and sense of loyalty to his team, that he’s back again, giving his top effort for the Magic.

Now 34 and healthy again, he’s shown shades of the Hill of old, sending Orlando off to a 7-4 mark, including Monday night’s 95-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s leading the team in scoring at 16.1 ppg, out on the court for about 30 minutes per game.

I wish more young guys would have watched Hill’s example in this case. He could have just taken the money; instead, he gave them more than what they could have reasonably expected.

Of course, when you’re talking about the Magic, you’re talking about the game’s next great big man. And Dwight Howard is their best player — that was 24 points and 23 boards he put up against Memphis. He’s got the fierce will like we saw with a young Tim Duncan in San Antonio.

But I see Hill as their leader, totally irreplaceable. I think his tenacity has led this young Orlando team that had been struggling much of last year. The team’s start is direct result of his example. To weather as much as he did, I think his teammates owe him their best effort every night.

Often, teams struggle with considerations of whether to take a team in a younger direction, or rely on veterans. But I think Brian Hill has done tremendous job blending these elements in Orlando — too often we forget the coach is vital to making this all work. I thought the Magic were smart in bringing him back — sometimes, a team makes a coaching change because it needs a new voice. His voice is welcome once again.

His team’s interior defense is tremendous. Heck, they even have Hedo Turkoglu playing D. In the game against Memphis, you saw Darko Milicic have one of his lesser outings.

He’s had some good ones, too. Milicic is a guy who has been through the ringer — the pressures of the NBA can be a shock to system for a lot of players. I think it’s going to take a while to recover, and learn where his place is in the league. He’s a good player, but he needs to be strong-willled about these adjustments. Very difficult.

I see the Magic becoming a playoff team this year. They’re still some players away from becoming a championship team, and in going for those players, they’ve got to keep the identity of a tough-minded team.

Much has been made about the kind of salary cap room the Magic will have when Hill’s number comes off the books. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. I’d love to see Grant Hill have, finally, at long last, a positive outcome in Orlando.

His basketball story won’t stop when his playing days are over. Grant Hill would be a great coach — he’s a leader, with a strong understanding of the game. On the court now, he’s obviously not player he was in Detroit, but he still has a lot to offer.

The Magic are getting that rare chance to see it. It’s a great thing to see.

On Carlos Boozer

On his 25th birthday, Carlos Boozer had 35 in Utah’s win over Toronto. “We’re having fun. I think you could see that out there in the fourth quarter with the fans going crazy,” said Boozer.

Monday’s Best
Jazz forward Carlos Boozer: Sinks 14 of 16 shots en route to 35 points in Utah’s 101-96 win over Toronto. Had nine boards too. That’s a 10-1 start for your Utah Jazz.

On Shane Battier

Even Shane Battier noticed [David] Lee’s fight, singling him out as the young Knick he was most impressed with — a high compliment coming from Mr. Intangible himself, a player Lee says he looked up to in college. “At one point in the game,” Lee said. “I went up to (Battier) and I was like, ‘You have zero points and your team is still winning.’ He found other ways to impact the game.”

• Shane Battier’s final line: 6 points on 2 of 4 shooting (one of those buckets coming on an accidental tip-in by Quentin Richardson), seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks. Not to mention the three charges he took, the crosscourt passes he made when he was double teamed in the post and the reckless dive he took to recover a loose ball that may well have been an Eli Manning fumble.

Then, of course there’s this week’s ESPN Power Rankings. That’s FIVE of the top TEN teams, folks.

Man, this is a fun season so far… both on the NBA and college side!