If case you hadn’t noticed, Roy Hibbert’s been playing really well offensively lately. How well? In the past 12 games he’s averaged 18 points per game on 48.5% shooting. That’s nearly 7 ppg better and 4.3% better than his season averages of 11.6 ppg and 44.2% shooting.
In other words: With the news of Danny Granger being out the rest of the season, someone needed to help out offensively.
Roy decided it would be him.
As for his defense and rebounding of late? The former has been great — as it has been all season — and he’s grabbing 10 boards a night on top of it, upping his season average of 8.3 a game.
Earlier this season he was struggling mightily with his hook shot, supposedly from a right wrist injury, and was using his left hand on the hook shot a lot more often than he had in the past. Also, he was just missing a ton of layups and continually looking off balance during many of his slooow post moves.
Since the All-Star break, however, he has gone back to the right hand more and more, and it’s been going down more and more. Now he has an effective hook shot from both hands and has added in the running hook shot, which he didn’t really have last season. He’s adding more moves to his offensive arsenal this season, resulting in him finishing five of the last 12 games with 20 or more points. (He shot 50% or better in each of those five.)
If he can average a solid 15 and 8, shooting 45% or better, throughout the playoffs, it’ll do wonders for the Pacers offense. Typically, the Pacers do well when Roy’s got his offensive game going; they’re 14-2 this season when he has 17 or more points. (That jumps to10-0 if you make it 17 points and 50% or better.) In those 2 losses, he shot under 50% including a horrible 34.6% night against the Sixers.
Roy’s main job will still be protecting the interior on defense, an area where he excels.
When it comes to defending the paint he’s in a tier with few other centers.
As we all know, the Pacers are the NBA’s number-one defense. It all starts with interior D. Shots inside the paint are generally a lot higher percentage than anywhere else in the NBA. But the Pacers are the best in the league at stopping opponents from scoring in the paint, only allowing 35.3 shots a game.
Roy Hibbert is the main reason for allowing so few points in paint, and it is a big reason he has the second highest individual defensive rating in the league while the Pacers have the best team rate.
The NBA may be starting to drift away from being a center’s league, but when you have a dedicated 7’2 center, you can build a defense around him. When he also starts to put up points? Well, you might be able to build a run to the Eastern Conference Finals around him as well.
Yeah, the Pacers have an emerging superstar in Paul George, a rock in David West, and a surprisingly potent back court combination in George Hill and Lance Stephenson.
Still, they just play so much better when Roy Hibbert plays his best.
The Pacers are 19-2 when the big fella wins his player matchup (when both have played for 25 or more minutes) and 8-16 when he loses the matchup.
Tags: Hib Hib Hooray