With the anticipated Pacers-Heat matchup just around the corner, I wanted to talk about the most confusing player from these two rosters: Roy Hibbert.
Hibbert, who signed a four-year, $58 million contract this offseason, is quietly the most overpaid center in the NBA. Yes, Hibbert is a superior defender who will constantly alter shots throughout the course of a game. But his shortcomings come on the other side of the ball, where you would expect a 7’2 mammoth of a man to dominate. His numbers indicate far from that.
Throughout the regular season, Hibbert never scored more than 28 points in a game and only reached 20 points on nine occasions. Hibbert averaged 11.9 points per game and an alarmingly career-low 44.8 percent from the field, which is not an anomaly since Hibbert is a career 47.3 percent shooter from the field. Those are laughable statistics for a center who is supposed to be the anchor of a conference final team and who primarily shoots inside the paint (and we are not even going to get into the fact that Hibbert averaged 8.3 rebounds per game this season).
Granted, you can point out that Hibbert’s PPG numbers aren’t as high as they should be because he averaged less than 29 minutes per contest. But that doesn’t change the fact that Hibbert might be the worst finisher around the rim in the NBA and shoots an incredibly low percentage from the field.
To his credit, he has been just a bit better in the playoffs, averaging 14 PPG on 47.3 percent from the field and 9.6 rebounds per game. But those are numbers that aren’t good enough for a player of his potential and who’s getting paid as much as he is.
Photo Credit: (USA Today Photo)
So why is this relevant? With the upset-minded Pacers coming into town to take on the Heat, don’t expect Hibbert to be any kind of deciding factor on offense. He will alter shots and have an impact on the defensive end (and even that is up for debate, since Chris Bosh will force him to step out on the perimeter to defend his jumper, one of Hibbert’s weaknesses defensively), but he can’t be counted on as someone who will anchor the Pacers’ offense. For what it’s worth, Hibbert averaged 9.7 PPG on three games against Miami this season.
I don’t expect the Pacers to beat the Heat, but if they do, it will be because Paul George and David West take over offensively. Don’t expect Hibbert to be a factor. He hasn’t done it all year, why would it start against Miami? Maybe it’s time Hibbert starts being held accountable for not fulfilling his massive offseason contract and massive shortcomings.