The Indiana Pacers just finished up a very disappointing 2013-14 season with another playoff series loss to the Miami Heat. Roy Hibbert was one of the reasons that the Pacers struggled so badly down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs, and there are more questions than answers facing him as the offseason approaches. Could the Pacers trade him? It’s possible, but it’s more likely that he will be back next season to make up for his mistakes this year.
Hibbert was named to the All-Defensive second team today, but that was largely due to the extremely strong first half of the regular season that he played. He was expected to be one of the finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, but because of his long slump, he wasn’t even close to beating out Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah.
His numbers certainly weren’t terrible, but they weren’t good either. He averaged just 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game this year with the Pacers in 81 games. Those numbers simply aren’t going to cut it for a max contract center who the Pacers were trying to build around at one point in time.
One of Hibbert’s major issues throughout his entire career has been the lack of strength in the post. He allows himself to be pushed around by smaller defenders, and he’s not athletic to make plays by jumping over them. There were many times in the playoffs where he would allow himself to catch the basketball with his back to the basket just a few feet inside the three-point line.
No big man is every going to be a dominant scorer when catching the basketball that far away from the rim. Hibbert needs to work hard on his strength this offseason, and he also needs to work on being quick and decisive with his moves when he does catch the basketball. At 7’2″ and 290 pounds, there is no reason that he should be blocked by Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Mario Chalmers, or Norris Cole. He was blocked by all of those players at least one time throughout the playoffs this year.
It’s hard to look at anything to do with Hibbert’s season and label it as a success. He wasn’t even a great teammate throughout the entire season, and angered quite a few of his teammates by calling some of his teammates selfish. The most ironic part of the entire story is that Hibbert was complaining about not getting the ball thrown into him enough. To call a teammate selfish and then claim that he is selfish because he isn’t giving you the ball is absolutely unbelievable.
Overall, this season was a complete and utter disaster for Hibbert. Not only was his season an absolute bust, he has already made it clear that he is “open” to a trade from the Pacers this offseason. At this point in his career, there should be no excuses for being tossed around like a rag doll, and certainly shouldn’t be excuses involving putting blame on teammates. It will be interesting to keep an ear open for Hibbert trade rumors this offseason, but you can expect him to be back next season in the blue and gold.