What does this mean for Indiana?
The most pronounced factor is that Indy will retain their inside force that proved invaluable on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball during the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Miami Heat.
Hibbert is wildly heralded as the most promising young big man in the league. Being able to keep him as he begins to enter his prime was one of the main goals of the Pacers' offseason.
Indiana also wanted to keep their starting lineup together, a task that is now complete with the matching of Hibbert and the re-signing (five years/$40 million) of point guard George Hill.
The future is now bright for the Pacers and their big man.
Hibbert has seen a steady improvement in every major statistical category for a big man. From his rookie year until this past season Hibbert has seen: a 26 percent increase in his field-goal percentage, a 5.7 rise in his points-per-game, 5.4 in his rebounds, 0.9 in blocks and 1.5 in offensive rebounds. He also tied for the '12 postseason lead in blocked shots, averaging 3.1 per game with the Lakers' Andrew Bynum.
He even had his work ethic and athletic progress chronicled by Jordan Conn and Bill Simmons' grantland.com.
As Hibbert improves, so will the Pacers' inside game. Last year gave Indy hope after they pushed Miami in the semifinal. Now the hope will continue as Indiana returns its entire core, with most key players locked up for another year.
If the offense uses Hibbert more effectively, the '13 Pacers will be much tougher than the '12 Pacers. This is something for Pacer fans to finally get excited about.
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