Player Analysis: Roy Hibbert
May 17, 2011
LOOKING BACK: After a rigorous summer of conditioning, Hibbert hit the floor running in the 2010-11, averaging 16.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.06 blocks in the opening month. But his offseason work proved to be a double-edged sword. Though he was indeed more mobile and agile due to reduced weight, he also sacrificed some strength and bulk and opponents took advantage inside. By any measure, Hibbert had a solid third season overall, finishing third on the team in scoring (12.7), while leading in rebounding (7.5) and blocked shots (1.75). He also had a team-high 22 double-doubles, His game came back to life with the coaching change, as interim Frank Vogel shifted the offensive focus from the 3-point line to the post, and Hibbert averaged 13.2 points and shot 49 percent in the final 38 games. He averaged 10.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while shooting 44 percent in the first-round loss to the Bulls.
LOOKING AHEAD: Hibbert is much more than just a big body. He has the ability to score with either hand in the low post, is an excellent passer for a big man and a solid shot-blocker. Combine those skills with a true passion for the game and commitment to improving and the Pacers have every reason to be optimistic about his growth. No longer has the need to re-shape his body to keep pace with an up-tempo offense and can focus his conditioning on building strength, particularly in his lower body to stabilize his base to become much more of a consistent force on the block.
KEY STATS: After averaging 7.9 personal fouls per 48 minutes and fouling out 10 times in his first two seasons, Hibbert averaged 5.5 fouls per 48 and fouled out just once in 2010-11.
CONTRACT STATUS: Signed through the 2011-12 season, with a qualifying offer for 2012-13.
OUTLOOK: Gauging progress is different with young centers, who rarely burst upon the scene and often struggle for consistency in their early years. Rather, they tend to improve gradually over time (see: Rik Smits). The growth appears less dramatic but is no less significant. Hibbert is still very much in an upward trajectory, with the only question surrounding his peak. He also has leadership skills that could, and should, rise to the surface as he becomes more confident in his role. Already one of the most popular players on the roster because of his enthusiasm and effort, Hibbert isn't that far away from becoming one of the top centers in the Eastern Conference.