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George Hill credits Jazz teammates for NBA player of the week award

PHILADELPHIA — Monday was a bit anticlimactic for George Hill.

In the afternoon, the Utah Jazz point guard was honored as the NBA’s Western Conference player of the week.

That night, however, Hill was unable to suit up and play against the Sixers because of a sprained right thumb.

Despite the unfortunate injury situation, Hill has been the story of the season so far for the Jazz. The 6-foot-3 point guard, whom the team traded for during the offseason, has been sensational, leading the squad in scoring (20.4 ppg), assists (5.0 apg) and steals (1.0 spg).

During his award-winning week, Hill averaged 20.8 points on 58.5 percent shooting and 5.8 assists

The NBA noticed, giving him the nod over impressive weeks by Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and others.

“It’s not me. My teammates put me in a great situation to win an award,” Hill said before Monday’s tipoff. “It’s a great accomplishment individually, but more importantly it’s a good team accomplishment.”

Hill became the 14th different Jazz player (52 times overall) to merit player of the week recognition. He’s the first since Big Al Jefferson received the honor on April 1, 2013.

“It’s a neat honor,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I think it speaks to how well he’s assimilated into our group and how much respect our guys have had for him off the bat.”

Snyder credited Hill for being a solid all-around player, giving the Jazz just what they need at the point guard position. Hill has turned a weakness into a strength.

“The good thing about George is I think he’s prepared to score or to defend or to lead or whatever it is at any moment, whatever the team needs him to do,” Snyder said. “That’s been demonstrated in his play and his productivity and all of the other little things that don’t show up that we see behind the scenes every day.”

Along with scoring between 22-25 points in wins over the Spurs, Mavericks and Knicks, Hill also participated in a “Commitment to Service” service project at the Veterans Affairs Center in Salt Lake City last week. He joined active military members from Hill Air Force Base to clean up the grounds and took part in the dedication of a refurbished gym as part of the NBA’s Hoops for Troops week activities.

“It’s good to have. It’s a great honor,” Hill added, “but none of that would be possible without the guys screening, passing or playing together.”

As for his injury, Hill said his thumb was already hurting but got really aggravated after smacking a ball and being smacked by Knicks guard Derrick Rose in the third quarter Sunday.

It stiffened up overnight.

“It’s fine,” Hill said. “I’ll continue to do some rehab on it and try to get back.”

The Jazz have Tuesday off before playing again Wednesday in Charlotte. It’s uncertain whether Hill will be available against the Hornets.

While Jazzland has embraced Hill, the 30-year-old is certainly enjoying his time with his new team. It’s reminiscent for him when he excelled in Paul George’s absence in Indiana two seasons ago.

“Here with a new city and a new team, I’m getting a great opportunity just to go out and play every night,” Hill said. “Having the guys count on me every night is kinda fun.”

Having them fill in for you and win — like the Jazz did with Monday’s 109-84 victory over the Sixers — is also kinda fun.