Hibbert Is Consistent in Back-to-Back-to-Back

Roy Hibbert did more than just survive the Pacers’ three games in three nights, he thrived. NBA teams playing on three consecutive nights is one of the novelties to this condensed season — and one that has brought on a fair amount of negative attention. It is so grueling and demanding on the body that in a normal season, it happens exactly zero times.

But this is not a normal season and no matter what team you play for you have to pack a lot of games into a short amount of time. According to some critics, this has led to a lot of poor performance, specifically crappy shooting and scoring. When fatigue really starts to kick in, the shot is often the first thing to go. When you have played intense games for three straight nights even the most conditioned athletes will start to feel that “fourth quarter fatigue” some time closer to the second quarter.

So apart from the Pacers’ 2-1 record over the the three-game stretch, the stat that stuck out to me the most was the fact that Roy Hibbert shot over 50% in all three games. Having a center that is so well-conditioned that he can put up efficient numbers in a back-to-back-to-back, as if it didn’t even effect him, is a huge commodity and adds to the value of a player like Hibbert.

Here are the stat lines for Hibbert in the three-game stretch:

Thursday @ Washington
19 points, 8-for-14 FG (57.1%), 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block

Friday vs. Phoenix
19 points, 7-for-12 FG (58.3%), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks

Saturday @ Milwaukee
16 points, 7-for-11 FG (63.6%), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 blocks

Three-Game Average
18 ppg, 59.5% shooting (22-for-37 FGs), 8.3 rpg, 1 apg, 1.3 spg, 2.3 bpg

That is a model for consistency. On a game-by-game basis, these stats won’t blow anyone away, but you have to factor in the context. Any team in the league (except perhaps the Magic) would take those stat lines from their center during a back-to-back-to-back in a heartbeat. Over the course of the three games Hibbert shot 59% from the floor. That’s higher than his field goal percentage for the season. This is not normal stuff, people.

It should also be noted that for two of these three games he put up these numbers while having to defend the rim against two highly skilled offensive centers in Nene and Marcin Gortat. In the last game of the three (logically the most difficult on the body), Hibbert faced a less difficult matchup with Drew Gooden. Without the burden of guarding Nene or Gortat, he put up his most efficient night, shooting 63.6% to go with his 9 boards and 3 blocks.

The only matchup that you could say Hibbert “lost” was against Gortat (also the game that the Pacers lost) when the “Polish Hammer” put up 23 points off of 8-for-13 shooting. While some of that can be chalked up to Steve Nash’s 17 assist night, the key word here has been consistency. We have already seen what Hibbert did in three straight nights.

Now, if we take a look back to the most recent Suns’ game prior to their matchup with the Pacers (two nights earlier against the Magic), Gortat struggled mightily with just 4 points off 1-7 shooting. Consistency wins out in the end.

Of course, we should also credit coach Frank Vogel’s choice to monitor Hibbert’s minutes to avoid fatigue or break down as well as the reliability of Hansbrough and Amundson when they come off the bench. Hibbert never reached 35 minutes played in any of the three games.

Hibbert’s play has underwhelmed generally since he played in the All-Star Game. He has scored just 11.6 ppg on 46.9% shooting compared to 13.8 ppg on 51.2% before the break. But now, at a point when NBA players should be starting to hit a wall or go into slumps, Roy seems to be catching a second wind. To put it in the simplest of terms, he’s down in the paint making his shots.

This is exactly what the Pacers should be hoping for because, after a well needed day off, they will take on the Miami Heat on Monday. If the Heat have a weakness it’s a strong interior presence. Mr. Hibbert will have to go to work.

Tags: Marcin Gortat Milwaukee Bucks Phoenix Suns Roy Hibbert Washington Wizards

  • http://www.alwaysmillertime.com Stephen Ajamie

    I definitely agree with your comments about Hibbert, and it’s so important for him to be that consistent all the time. There have been weeks where he will put up a game of 15 points, then the next game out, he’ll score 5 or 6 and it’s like he disappeared. But if he can continue this trend of scoring in double figures, which should be expected, then he’ll become a much better player because of it. And in the East, where centers aren’t exactly big, Hibbert could be one of the top centers around.

  • AJ

    When we first drafted #55, I thought he’d be more Mutumbo than Ewing or Mourning, following in the tradition of great Georgetown centers, maybe avg. 10pts, 11rebs, and 1 or 2blks. Now, I think he has yet to reach is ultimate ceiling, and if we continue to “feed the Big Man” as Walton would say, he could be a legit 20-10-2 center, trailing only Howard and maybe Bynum (if he can stay healthy) for dominance in the middle. We have to keep him this summer, and make sure he gets at least 15 shots a game, b/c his passing game is gonna give more open looks to Danny, Paul, and George from the arc.

  • Realist

    Agree. There’s so few elite centers left. Howard is the only one at the moment. An absolute specimen who never gets injured, then Bynum (who is massively injury prone) and then it’s pretty much wide open.

    After those two, there’s guys like Bogut, Noah, Nene, and Hibbert is definitely amongst this second tier bunch now.

    I don’t think we need Hibbert to be a 20-10-2 guy (not that we wouldn’t take it) – just a consistent 15-9-2 guy is more than enough. Especially if he’s healthy for 75+ games a year, which he has been.

    And yeah, $10 million a year for healthy 15-9-2 guys who can anchor the defense is more than fair. He’ll get his, as he should. Sounds like he’s keen to stay in Indy, which is also good. Area 55 will live on!

  • http://PacersCenter.com Joe

    Hopefully Roy can keep up his strong play. If he could play good against the Heat tonight, it would really help us out.

  • Jesse

    Contract negotiations this year should be interesting. I feel as though $10/yr is tops. I don’t think he’s worth $12. He may still get it, but that could cripple the Pacers ability to land a star.

    Off topic, but is Eric Gordon really still injured or is he just upset with the Hornets?

  • Joe B

    I like the fact he was a four-year college player, and I hope the Pacers continue to draft guys who have a few years under their belts. He has developed really well in the NBA, and I hope the Pacers find a way to keep him here long-term. A team can always find a scorer if they are willing to pay for them–but big and skilled does not come around often…