Roy Hibbert Must Ascend to Stardom for Indiana Pacers to Win in Playoffs

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Roy Hibbert Must Ascend to Stardom for Indiana Pacers to Win in Playoffs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Roy Hibbert is 7'2" and 260 pounds, and he can be a presence on both defense and offense.

The only problem is that he does not always show up.

That will need to change: Hibbert must become the second star that the Indiana Pacers need, providing the inside complement to Danny Granger.

Players on the team cite improved team chemistry for their success this season, and a quick look at the team statistics shows that all starters not named Granger take roughly 10 shots per game.

Yet Hibbert has already shown the ability to be a dominant scoring and rebounding force, albeit for a short two-month span to begin the 2010-2011 season.

When former head coach Jim O'Brien chose to feature Hibbert, he began the season averaging 18.3 points and 10 rebounds a game in October.

He showed he has the natural tools and the skills at his disposal to dominate the majority of centers in the NBA.

However, Hibbert could not sustain the production, as teams began to adjust. He recently went through a similar stretch this season following the All-Star break where his production nosedived.

When his career is over, people will view Roy Hibbert as:

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As a player completing his fourth year in the NBA, it is time for Hibbert to adjust to those changes and assert himself. He will be 26 next season, which means if he does not start to show consistent improvement, the likelihood of him transcending what he is right now will be minimal.

In the current landscape of the NBA, teams that don't have two stars—or at least a very strong second option—will struggle to compete.

The Chicago Bulls have Derrick Rose as their unquestioned leader, but they also have Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng.

The Miami Heat have three bona fide stars in Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

In fact, the only team that lacks two standout options that is currently in the Eastern Conference playoff picture is the Philadelphia 76ers, and they have been struggling for well over a month. With less than 10 games remaining, they may find themselves on the outside looking in when the playoffs start.

Those playoff games will be hotly contested. The spread-the-wealth formula has been good enough to win in the regular season, and it may prove good enough to even win a first-round series.

Yet if the Pacers' team goal is to "win as many games as possible," as Indianapolis Star reporter Mike Wells writes, then the team will need one member of the supporting cast to step up alongside Danny Granger.

He has flashed the ability. He has the look of someone who should star in the low post.

The person who should move forward is Roy Hibbert.

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