Seven-foot-two centers are supposed to affect the game on the defensive end above all else, and Roy Hibbert is given all the respect in the world in that regard. Opposing coaches take note of how he protects the paint like it’s his sacred home, and that’s more than nearly all teams can say they have in their big man.
Nevertheless, Hibbert’s offense has been down in the dumps since he was drafted in 2008, and the hard work he puts into every offseason has yet to pay off. He shows up in the playoffs against Miami, and maybe that’s all fans want and need him to do. But, it’s about time the former Hoya asserts himself against the league’s better front-court assets.
While nobody expects Hibbet to ever become Hakeem Olajuwon on the block — or even Al Jefferson — he needs to provide something. And for the past two months, he has arguably been doing more damage than good on the offensive end.
Since January 4, Hibbert — a career 47.1% shooter — has made just 42.5% of his field-goal attempts, according to NBA.com. In these 30 games, Roy has scored more than 15 points just four times.
Away from home it’s been even worse. In the team’s 13 road games since January 4, he has shot 40.0%. The fact that he is shooting just 64.0% from the free-throw line in away games in this period, as well, may be even more troubling. As is this number: Roy is averaging just 7.7 points and 4.8 boards (!!!) per game in Indiana’s last 9 losses.
Here is his shot chart for the past 30 games, which highlights Hibbert’s disgusting 32.1% shooting (on 81 attempts) from the paint, not including the restricted area.
In addition to the raw numbers, if we look at some of the biggest match ups Hibbert has had against marquee big men this year, we also see that he is struggling to have an impact.
While it would take an hour to dissect all of Hibbert’s disappointing performances, look at some of the notable numbers he’s placed against the better power forwards/centers this season:
November 11 vs. Memphis – Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph
3 points (1-of-4), 7 rebounds
November 25 vs. Minnesota – Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic
4 points (2-of-7), 5 rebounds
November 27 at Charlotte – Al Jefferson
14 points (4-of-14), 10 rebounds
December 16 vs. Detroit – Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe
6 points ( 2-of-12), 4 rebounds
December 20 vs. Houston – Dwight Howard
9 points (3-of-8), 6 rebounds
January 4 vs. New Orleans – Anthony Davis, Alexis Ajinca
6 points (2-of-7 ), 8 rebounds
January 8 at Hawks – Paul Millsap, Pero Antic
2 points (1-of-8 ), 4 rebounds
January 18 vs. Clippers – Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
4 points (2-of-11), 11 rebounds
January 24 at Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins
10 points (3-of-11), 11 rebounds
February 7 vs. Portland – LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez
4 points (2-of-8), 6 rebounds
February 22 at Milwaukee – Zaza Pachuila, John Henson
4 points (1-of-9), 6 rebounds
(although he did follow up with a 24-point, 10-of-16 outing vs. MIL five days later)
March 2 vs. Utah – Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter
2 points (1-of-9), 4 rebounds
March 5 at Charlotte – Al Jefferson
4 points (2-of-8), 4 rebounds
(while allowing Jefferson to erupt for 34 points on 16-of-25 attempts)
The crazy part: Eight of those games were in front of the Pacers’ home crowd, where Hibbert usually loves to establish his post presence to open a game.
The blasphemous part: Ten of them resulted in wins for Indiana.
Frank Vogel’s group has the mentality that they don’t necessarily need Hibbert to play a Shaquille O’Neal-type game in order to excel and win games, but the notion has always been that Hibbert’s dominance will push them past Miami in May. It is best for the team to center its attention on getting Hibbert ready for the postseason. Because a couple of nightmare showcases could strip any chance they have at matching the intensity the champs are currently feeding off.
Roy, it’s time to start asserting yourself as a 7-foot center on the offensive end, consistently.
In fact, it’s beyond time.