I know that based on the production that Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert has shown as of late I have some serious explaining to do. We have all seen the games and the numbers do not lie; in 6 total games this postseason he has 24 total points, 19 rebounds, 4 blocks and is shooting 30% from the field. Those numbers are not just bad, they are borderline horrifying. However in watching Hibbert lately, he has shown me something that has impressed me.
Head coach Frank Vogel has been put in a difficult situation this playoff series; he has had to make the tough choice of changing a rotation that had produced 56 wins and the number one seed in the east. Struggles had obviously surfaced recently and none more than what Hibbert was doing, which in effect essential removed him from valuable playing time.
In Game 6 Hibbert continued to be a part of the starting lineup, playing the first seven minutes of the game. He then saw the bench for the remainder of the half and only saw five minutes in the second half due to foul trouble from backup Ian Mahinmi. All that being said, Hibbert was always the first one off the bench to cheer and you could see the excitement he had for his teammates. It would have been very easy for him to sit on the end of the bench to seem disinterested and nobody would have thought too much of it. He also made a key block during an Atlanta Hawks run early fourth quarter on a Jeff Teague drive. His attitude, although questioned at times during the regular season, has been very impressive during the postseason even throughout his struggles.
I hope nothing more than for this team to continue with a strong performance on Saturday night and get to move on to a new challenge. People are quick to forget that Hibbert was runner-up for defensive player of the year this season and a new match-up could help put him back on the right track. Keep your head up big man and good things are bound to follow.