Indiana Pacers fans would certainly concur: it’s nice to have Roy Hibbert back.
A one-game NBA suspension of Hibbert was enough. This is the time of year when everyone needs to be in the lineup, unless it’s an injury or illness that can’t be avoided.
Teams can’t afford to lose anyone for disciplinary and attitude reasons, which Hibbert hopefully is extremely aware of. Every game is too important now for playoff qualification and positioning.
Friday night, Hibbert scored 18 points in his team’s 93-81 victory over Rudy Gay and the Toronto Raptors. Hibbert missed the Los Angeles Clippers game for his role in a skirmish against the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week.
They definitely could have used him against the Clippers, but against the Raptors he gave them the type of production the Pacers will need from Hibbert for the rest of the season.
In his return against Toronto, Hibbert put in an excellent 24 minutes with a 7-of-10 clip from the floor and 4-of-4 accuracy from the free-throw line. He added three blocked shots and three rebounds.
That’s the type of productivity the Pacers can’t afford to be without in any game.
Hibbert still has plenty of potential left untapped. He’s averaging 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds a game. His shooting percentage of 42.1 per game could be better.
It hasn’t been one of Hibbert’s best seasons, but it’s not one of his worst. He can get better. Much better.
Keeping his poise would help although the Pacers are developing into a rough and rumble type of team. That’s okay, but Hibbert needs to make sure he’s still around to do the rumbling.