Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert just finished one of the most underwhelming NBA Playoff performances in history. People look at his height and expect him to be dominant, but he just isn’t and never will be. He’s a slow, mentally weak player that I wouldn’t have on my team at all.
We live in a world where we think think “bigger is better,” but in the case of Hibbert, that’s definitely not the case. His career averages are 11.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG. That doesn’t sound like a dominant player to me. When you explore a little further, his career highs in points and rebounds came in 2011-12 when he had 12.8 PPG and 8.8 RPG. I know numbers can lie to us at times, but what doesn’t lie is what I see when I watch Hibbert play.
I see a guy who can hardly makes it up the court. He’s often manhandled on the offensive end. He gets pushed off the block and off balance. He continues to bring the ball down to his chest when he rebounds, which negates his height and allows smaller guards to take the ball.
When he gets double-teamed, he never senses the defender coming. The best post players in the league get the ball and immediately know where the second defender is coming from. Traditionally, the open man is often on the opposite side of the floor if the players are spaced properly.
Hibbert often makes moves with his head down and shuts off his vision to the opposite side. That makes it so much easier on the defense because they only have to play one side of the floor. If I were them, I’d invite the ball to go to Hibbert.
On the defensive end of the floor, it’s really easy to exploit Hibbert. Simply bringing him out of the paint really puts him, as well as the rest of the defense at risk. By using high pick-and-rolls, Hibbert is forced to move his feet, which is his weakness. His inability to keep up forces other defenders to help him. Once they get past the help, there is nobody back patrolling the paint.
We’re in a different era of basketball. One that doesn’t demand teams to have a massive center. Often, the taller slower guys like Hibbert are taken out of the game when smaller forwards stretch the floor and use their quickness. Give me the more versatile players like Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Paul Millsap, Kevin Love, Joakim Noah, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan or Serge Ibaka instead of the one-dimensional Hibbert.
Roy is also mentally fragile. He continues to blame his coach Frank Vogel for not putting the ball in his hands. Like I explained previously, Hibbert isn’t a player the offense can run through. Why go out of your way as a coach to get a guy the ball who will likely turn it over or take you out of the flow of the offense? There is no benefit in having your best players, David West and Paul George, just standing around.
Furthermore, Vogel can’t worry about having a one-on-one therapy session with Roy every time his feelings are hurt. Hibbert needs to be able to handle himself emotionally. Vogel has a million other things to worry about during the course of a game than stroking his big man’s ago.
Of Hibbert’s 19 playoff games this year, he had 10 games where he scored in single digits. That includes four games where he had zero points. The problem is more than scoring, he also had nine games in which he registered five or fewer rebounds. Again, it’s not Vogel’s fault that Hibbert elects to sulk and decide not to be aggressive.
Do you think Love, Noah, or Randolph would register a zero-point, zero-rebound game like Hibbert did in the Washington Wizards series? Over their dead bodies.
Don’t be fooled by Hibbert’s size. He’s physically and mentally weak in comparison to his professional counterparts. His one-dimensional game, low basketball IQ, and lack of accountability limit his ability. He has a lot of soul-searching to do before he would be on my team.