For all the criticism that Roy Hibbert received back when he wasn’t scoring as well, but still playing defense, how about some credit be given to him for his sudden emergence? Just in the past ten games, Hibbert is right at 18 points a game. That’s a much higher number than I would expect from Hibbert. I think some people feel he should be a 20 point 10 rebound guy, but that’s just not his way. He’s got to be on the block putting the ball right there in the basket. But last night, Hibbert actually showed off some shooting from outside his range. He hit a couple of great shots from about the free throw line, and even went 8-8 from the field in the first half. How about 11-14 shooting for the game? If that doesn’t get people reason to ease up on him, I don’t know what will.
Hibbert is one of those players that gets very mental about his game. I don’t know if there’s any way out of that. It’s probably just going to be the way he is wired. He can say he’s not affected by things said, but when he goes out and misses some shots, and looks totally not confident, he’s affected. I know you can tell what kind of game Hibbert will have just in the first few minutes. If he’s making shots, then there’s going to be a good game. If he’s not, then hopefully he picks it up on the defense end.
To his credit, when his shots weren’t falling, he was picking it up defensively. How about that triple double game against the Hornets, where he swatted away 11 shots by the Hornets good for a franchise record. He’s got 196 blocks on the season, which is a career high. And we still have games to go. He’s truly a force in the middle that can alter a guy’s shot even if he’s not blocking it. Come playoff time, that could be huge if a guy like Lebron James is trying to barrel down the lane. This defense of the Pacers owes Hibbert a lot of credit for what they’ve been doing.
Overall, Hibbert is a guy that I just like a lot. I like that he wants to be here. He’s got a great sense about the community here. Heck he has his own section in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. He’s taken out Area 55 for a movie. He shows that he has pride here in the city. Those are things that I look for in an Indiana Pacer. He was an All Star last season, and should be mentioned in defensive player of the year talk this season. He’s coming along big with his scoring. He’s got the tools to help the Pacers down in the post when it comes time for the playoffs, and hopefully the Pacers use that to their advantage. Time for fans to give the credit where credit is due.