Roy Hibbert had 29 points and 10 boards in Indiana’s Game 2 win in Miami. He joins Jermaine O’Neal as the only Pacer NBA player to record at least that high of a total in each category.
It was arguably the finest offensive playoff game of his career, and much of his success was due to fantastic pick-and-roll play.
I almost can’t believe this is true. We’re talking about a guy who, as recently as two years ago, was a certified disaster in the pick and roll.
Hibbert has made great strides in many areas of his career since entering the league. His biggest leaps came in his first two years, as he went from a player who couldn’t stay on the court due to both foul problems and stamina issues to a legitimate starting center. He has also obviously turned into a beast at protecting the rim.
That progress, while impressive, doesn’t shock me.
His ability to become a threat in the pick and roll does, however. I never thought I would see the day.
For years, me and Tim Donahue had a running joke when we would chat about Hibbert as the screener. We called it the “pick and meander.” All too often, Roy would flash up high, set a good-enough screen (often due more to his size than his technique) but then check out. He wouldn’t roll hard to the hoop. He would “pick and pop” into midrange space for a jumper.
He would just meander around, seemingly without any direction or purpose. At times, it was almost as if he was going to great lengths to be as nonthreatening as possible — while also getting in the way of any secondary action that could develop in the paint.
Some of this was stamina-related. You could tell that he would have come off a tough defensive possession, lumbered up court down to the block and then realized a play was called in which he had to come back out to the perimeter to set a screen. He would make it out for the pick, then just sort of meander aimlessly as exhausted people tend to do. (I don’t know why, but it can seem easier than standing still.)
It’s hard to believe that the 7’2″ giant I saw deftly running the pick-and-roll to perfection against Miami in Game 2 is even the same person.
He was marvelous, and it may be the main reason that the Pacers were able to scored so efficiently against Miami. Though it wasn’t an every-other-possession means of attack, when the Pacers did run it, the Heat had no answer.
This is a wonderful play, as great in creation as execution. Here’s is how ND described it.
This is a beautifully designed play. The Pacers used a downscreen by David West to free Paul George from Dwyane Wade. Hibbert’s timing on the screen is excellent, arriving before Wade can recover. This forces Hibbert’s man, Joel Anthony, to stay with George a beat longer than he’d prefer. Meanwhile, West flashes to the strongside elbow, where he is deadly. This forces his defender, LeBron James to vacate the paint. Hibbert rolls right into the vacated area, presenting George with a huge target.
The 6’10” George was repeatedly able to pass over the top of Miami’s traps, as he did here. Hibbert makes a huge target for the pass, too huge for Mario Chalmers to get around. The catch and finish shows great footwork by the 7’2” center. He makes the catch with no idea where the defense is, yet avoids bowling over Chalmers on his way to a layup.
The timing of Hibbert’s screen is perfect. And as ND notes, George makes a good pass.
This was just one of many examples.
Head over to Team Rebound and read the full break down. He looks at three other plays.