1-on-1 with Roy Hibbert

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

While in Hawaii for training camp, Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell sat down with four Lakers players to talk a bit about basketball, and a bit about what those players have been up to off the court.

Highlights of the interviews, which aired on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, will appear over the next few days, continuing with Roy Hibbert:

MT: Where do you think the narrative turned last year when it seemed that the blame was put all on you?
Hibbert: To tell you the truth, I’ve been down that road, and I’m happy to have a new start here. I’d rather not dwell on the past, to tell you the truth. What I bring to this team is toughness in trying to shore up the paint. I’ve done that for years in the past. Offensively, they’re not really looking for me to score in bunches or score a lot. Whenever I have an opportunity, I should be efficient. But my main responsibility here is to defend the paint and help out on defense. That’s what I’ve done for the past couple years.

MT: Where do you get your motivation from?
Hibbert: I’m just trying to be a professional, and my job is to come in every day and just work extremely hard, help this team in whatever way I can. Just seeing those championship trophies up there in the practice facility — I want one of those. So whatever I have to do to adjust, I’ll do it. I come in, work every day and want to do my best.

MT: When did it occur to you that you can use verticality to your advantage without being called for the foul?
Hibbert: With my last team, we found out we had a good plus/minus when I was on the court, but I couldn’t stay on the court because of the fouls with guards just jumping into you for no reason. We just tried to figure out a way for me to stay on the court, and I just try to work on drills to do that. That just seemed to work. I’m just always in the ref’s ear, (saying), “Straight up, straight up, straight up.” They tell me as long as I don’t turn, it’ll be a no-call.

MT: Sometimes you don’t go for the block in order to retain verticality and not get called for the foul, but ultimately it serves almost the same purpose as a block, right?
Hibbert: You just have to know personnel, and there’s certain things I do that go into the split-second of my rotation on defense. If the player serves the ball up, go for the block. If the player tucks the ball in for the layup, go straight up. So it’s just one of those types of things, because you can’t try to block the ball when the guy has the ball tucked. So you try to make it a tough layup.

MT: How did you develop your mid-range jump shot?
Hibbert: The post-up game wasn’t a primary weapon with my last team as much as it was in the past. Just had to roll with the punches. Where the NBA’s going, you have to have a big that can space the floor. Just worked on that. I always felt I have some sort of touch. I pull that every now and then.

MT: Is it fair to say that rim-protecting bigs won’t ever go away?
Hibbert: You don’t need a big center to throw it down to every time and pound the ball. Percentage wise I’ve been hearing stat guys say that a one-on-one post-up in the post is a low-percentage shot. So you need to have bigs that can space the floor, give guys driving lanes to the basket for easy 2’s and space so they can hit 3’s. I think primarily that’s what small ball is focused on.

MT: You’re lighter than you were last year. Have you felt that in your legs?
Hibbert: I do. Lighter is better. To tell you the truth, I’m happy where I’m at right now. But I continue to work.

MT: Is there an ideal number of minutes for you?
Hibbert: Whatever coach needs me to do, I’ll do. Play 12, 18, 30, the whole game — I’ll do it. I’m at a part of my career where you have to sacrifice to win. So whatever he needs me to do, I’ll do.

MT: What do you do when you’re not playing basketball?
Hibbert: Play a little bit of “Call of Duty.” Relax with my family. I don’t really do too much.

MT: Who is the best “Call of Duty” player in the NBA?
Hibbert: I don’t know. I don’t really hang out with a lot of NBA players or talk to them a lot. I talk to a lot of guys I played college basketball with and some of my teammates in the past, but I play against random people and just jump into games with those guys. I’ve seen enough NBA players already.

MT: How good are you at “Call of Duty”?
Hibbert: Go look through my pictures I’ve posted on Twitter. After my games consecutively I’ll post where I’m at. I’ll take a screenshot and post it. So I do OK.

MT: When did you start playing video games?
Hibbert: When I was growing up, it was a lot of “Resident Evil,” “Mario,” Sega Genesis, “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Crash Bandicoot.” I’m an only child. I didn’t live in a great neighborhood growing up. So my parents used to let me go to blockbuster on Fridays, rent a video game and then return it before I go to school. I got to college, played a little bit of “Halo” at Georgetown. The basketball team would play against some lacrosse players. I got to “Call of Duty” because you get there and just play. I play on the plane. I have a little briefcase with the game already in there.

MT: My first year with the team, players would play FIFA in the front of the plane. Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom and Adam Morrison would bring two monitors and the Xbox 360 and go at it. But you prefer the solo games?
Hibbert: I’m a lone wolf. I do enough team sports that I’d rather just run and gun myself.

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