I asked the question on Wednesday. “What’s wrong with Roy Hibbert?” This was a question that had been asked probably more than anything in the NBA other than “Just how racist is Donald Sterling?”
Hibbert is of course the all-star center for the Indiana Pacers who has been about as useful as a garden hose on a raging house fire in the playoffs. In his first eight playoff games he had a trio of games in which he scored as many points as I did. If you’re keeping track at home, that means “zero!”
The Pacers evened up their series with the Washington Wizards Wednesday night and their victory was due in great part to……… Roy Hibbert. No goose eggs on this night for the 7’2″ big man. Somehow, some way, Hibbert found his old self and poured in 28 points on 10 of 13 shooting and also collected nine rebounds.
So the question must be revisited but perhaps asked a little differently. “What was wrong with Roy Hibbert?” Well, the answers may be something we really don’t want to hear but not commenting on them would be wrong.
After Hibbert’s poor outing in game one, teammate Paul George took Hibbert and another teammate bass fishing. During the trip, an instagram post from George showed the three players holding a fish but the comment said nothing related to fishing. Instead, George told people to stop believing the rumors and that he and Hibbert were “brothers.”
The rumors that were reported by balleralert.com centered around Paul George possibly being involved with Roy Hibbert’s significant other. I say “significant other” because Hibbert was supposed to marry the young woman back in August but they called it off. The website also reported that this was the cause of the altercation between Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson earlier in the playoffs.
If any of this is true it fits my assumption perfectly. I stated that Hibbert’s issues had to stem from something going on in his personal life. You just don’t see a guy play as well as he did and then look like a guy pulled off of the street. I’m in no position to know whether the allegations are true but one way or another, something changed between game one and game two.
Was it the fishing trip or was it perhaps the team sending Andrew Bynum packing which they did prior to game two? It was no secret that Hibbert was not crazy about the troubled center joining the team. When Frank Vogel started to call some plays for Bynum that he rarely called for Hibbert, anger and jealousy may have been afoot.
With Bynum jettisoned, was this all that Roy Hibbert needed to play like his old self again? Chances are good that this entire slump that Hibbert has gone through was a combination of factors all rolled into one. What is on the mind of most people, especially those who wager on these games, is whether this Roy Hibbert is the one that will show up again in game three in Washington.
What really struck me about Hibbert’s performance in game two was the overwhelmingly obvious plan by the Pacers to get the ball to Hibbert at will. Sometimes a running back needs several carries before he can really get going and perhaps this was the logic used by Frank Vogel heading into the game.
I doubt the Wizards will let that happen again so Hibbert may have to be creative. One way or another, Roy Hibbert was himself again and whether we know the reason that’s been missing or not is no longer the question.