Roy Hibbert, The $58 Million Man


Not too long ago, the NBA world was buzzing about how the Indiana Pacers could ride Roy Hibbert and David West to victory over the seemingly invincible Miami Heat. In a league where teams are getting smaller by the minute, a squad with a 7’2” center and a bruising power forward presented a massive threat.

Funny how times change.

If you ask Pacers fans who they would like the offense to be run through this season, Roy Hibbert’s name may come up after those of DJ Augustin or even Gerald Green.

It is a strange turn of events for someone who was a popular commodity this offseason as a restricted free agent. The Portland Trailblazers made a strong attempt to pair him with LaMarcus Aldridge, but Hibbert ended up returning to Indiana on a four-year, $58 million deal.

This season, he has not been worth his money.Pacers 610

Offensively, he’s been miserable. Hibbert is shooting under 42%, a number that makes no sense for someone who is 7’2” and should be living around the rim. He has never really been a polished offensive player, and has never shot over 50% from the field over the course of a season, but 42% just isn’t acceptable.

Worse still, according to Basketball-Reference, Hibbert has somehow figured out a way to generate negative offensive win shares. There are about 100 players to appear in an NBA game this season who have pulled off this feat, but only 28 have a worse total than Hibbert’s -0.3 offensive win shares. (Gerald Green is one of them.)

Hibbert was better in January, when he shot slightly over 46% from the field and actually had a few games where he resembled a $58 million player. He was efficient, for example, in an 18 point, 11 rebound effort against the Detroit Pistons recently, but these kind of games are overshadowed by too many in which he only converts 25% of his shots.

As bad as he’s been offensively, however, he might actually be inversely good defensively.

According to Basketball-Reference, Hibbert allows just 96 points per 100 possessions, which is the best of any Pacer this season and helps make Indiana an elite defensive team. And since Hibbert is a great rim protector it allows Indiana’s athletic wing defenders to gamble a little more. And did I mention that he’s tall?

As awful as he is this season on offense, his defensive efforts have been good enough to still make him a plus player.

The verdict on his season so far?

Despite being 7’2” and, historically, having a decent touch, Roy Hibbert has been offensively challenged to the point that we celebrate an 18-point, 11-rebound effort against the laughable Detroit Pistons. With that in mind, however, Indiana is a team that has hung its hat on their defense, where he has been great.

With this in mind, Pacers fans need to be patient.

Management brought Roy Hibbert back knowing that consistency will be an issue, and that has been glaringly obvious this year on the offensive end. Just keep in mind that he still brings a dynamic that many teams around the league  do not have; a 7’2” big man who can force teams to adjust to him.

If he can find his touch, the Miami Heat still don’t have any sort of way to guard him.

Is that hope worth $58 million? Maybe, maybe not. But this season has shown both the good and the bad that come with Roy Hibbert

Tags: The Struggle Of Hibbert

  • Joe Betz

    Great, even post. I think Hibbert will become better with the addition of Danny Granger, mostly due to familiarity and the inability for teams to double-team. Also, the all-star break should help Hibbert refocus and recommit to a strong second half–after all, he will be watching the game vs. playing in it, and I think that will sting a little.

  • Realist

    I think we can all accept his offensive struggles as long as he keeps anchoring the league best defense. I thought the 8p9s article about how he had an injured wrist made a lot of sense – as it might explain why his hookshots have been awfully inaccurate, but why he can still blocks shots / get in position / do all the other things associated with protecting the paint. Any further update there re the “injury”?

    Injured or otherwise, we should just run less sets through him offensively (for now at least), even though Vogel clearly likes to.

    • Philip Tarrant

      I agree. David West has been (and should be) receiving more looks in the post given Hibb’s struggles. We will eventually need to have Roy hit stuff to prevent his man from helping over/out, but for now, we need to focus on other options.

    • Jack Wright

      i think it’s giving roy far too much benefit of the doubt to blame his offensive suckiness on his maybe possibly slightly a little bit “injured” wrist. the dude’s fine. he just has zero touch on his shot.

  • dwaink

    well according to coach V’s book-o-rules he should be riding the pines about now…until he gets his shot back…guess 50+ mill dollar contracts preclude that rule

    • Philip Tarrant

      You think Ian should be starting over him? Mahinmi might be having a great season and has been all we’d hoped for and more in providing a big body off the bench to hold down the paint when Roy’s out, but he is not the eraser in the paint that Hibb is. Don’t undersell Hibb’s defensive value, nor his ability to grab or tap back offensive boards with his height and awareness.

      His offense has been unacceptable, especially for a player we’ve invested so much in, but don’t mistake him for someone who should be riding the bench, nor would it be a move likely to help the team long-term.