How Roy Hibbert Can Be Even Better For the Indiana Pacers This Season
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It has taken him five seasons to serve notice that he is a legitimate force in the paint and he could be the next great, true center in the NBA.
In his rookie and sophomore seasons, Hibbert was a foul waiting to happen.
In his first two playoff appearances, he was just an okay option on offense, averaging no more than 11.7 points.
Last season, especially against the Miami Heat, he showed he can flat-out dominate.
Pacers fans believe these are just a taste of what's to come from the 26-year-old, $58 million dollar man.
That being said, what else must Hibbert do to make himself a better player?
Improve Passing Game
Yes, Roy Hibbert can pass.
And he's not expected to rack up the assists, as he's a center.
However, his assists figures have dipped slightly from two per game in 2010-11 to 1.4 last season. Hibbert made it clear in the 2012-13 playoffs that he is a legitimate scoring threat down low.
With that, he can use himself as a decoy—back up on his man in the post hoping to draw a double-team and then kick the ball out to the open man for the jumper or a cutting teammate.
On that note, wouldn't it be great to see Hibbert get a bit more credit for Paul George, Chris Copeland, George Hill, Danny Granger and C.J. Watson drilling three-pointers?
This is something great centers such as Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon were so good at—Ewing spotting an open Allan Houston or Olajuwon passing the ball to Mario Elie.
The above video demonstrates Hibbert's passing prowess. He establishes low-post position against Tyson Chandler, gets the ball and does a tremendous job of spotting a cutting George Hill down the baseline for the easy bucket.
Hibbert getting more involved this way makes Indiana's offense more unpredictable and dangerous.
Shore Up Mid-Range Game
Hibbert is not only an elite defensive player, he has also worked hard to expand his arsenal on offense. He can finish in the paint with either hand.
His hook shots, while not as graceful as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's, are making the game of basketball more pleasurable to watch in an era of highlight reels focused on powerful slam dunks.
What, then, would make Hibbert ultimately more effective as a scorer?
He must shore up his mid-range game.
Looking at Hibbert's shot chart from the 2012-13 regular season, do not be deceived by his 47.17 percent accuracy from the restricted area.
This was mainly affected by his wrist injury, which he told Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated in June.
Hibbert shot 55.17 percent from this area in 2011-12 and 52.57 percent the season before that, so he should be primed to be even better in 2013-14.
The one area in the shot chart which he can focus more on is his shooting from around 10 to 15 feet from the basket.
While he's right on the league average, he's still having trouble sinking shots from the right side of the basket from that distance.
He actually shot worse from mid-range in 2011-12, a season when he was relatively injury-free.
A deadlier Roy Hibbert mid-range game will spell doom for opposing centers as he will make it more difficult for them to guess what he'll do next.
Be More Emotionally Mature
Roy Hibbert is already a 26-year-old man.
However, there are times when he acts like a kid. Heed the words of Pacers.com's Mark Montieth.
Five seasons into his NBA career, he still seems a kid at times, such as those occasions in the postseason when he made awkward or profane post-game comments that bear little resemblance to his character.
These remarks were made after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers were on the brink of making it to their first NBA Finals since 2000 when too much LeBron James spelled the difference in a 23-point blowout in Game 7.
While the Pacers' relative inexperience that deep into the postseason and James' play ultimately did Indiana in, Hibbert's remarks came at a bad time and became an unnecessary distraction.
Montieth is spot on in saying Hibbert swearing in front of the press is not an accurate representation of who he really is.
In fact, he's active in terms of charity work in the Indianapolis area, such as the Indiana Children's Wish Fund. He also gets along very well with his teammates.
Hibbert is just a regular human being who simply let his emotions get the better of him.
Count on him to not let this happen again moving forward.
The Final Say
Roy Hibbert has made major strides in taking his game to another level.
How can Roy Hibbert become an even better player?
Primarily known for his defense, "The Great Wall of Hibbert" can block and alter shots like nobody else can. He is also a decent rebounder.
On offense, he can dominate and create in the paint with either hand. Hibbert can also befuddle opposing centers with his hook shot.
Plus, he sets a mean pick (check out the above video).
Hibbert also continues to show everyone he's a dedicated professional by working on his conditioning and putting in offseason work with Tim Duncan.
If he improves his passing game, shores up his mid-range game and becomes more emotionally mature, look for Roy Hibbert to make an even bigger statement as the league's best true center.
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