The last in our series of position break downs, and once again I feel the need to say this position has some lots of growth and improvement over the year. We have to talk about Roy Hibbert and what he did at the center position. If there was any doubt how much he’s improved, just look at the fact that he was voted to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a back up. That right there shows how much work he’s put into this position and wanted to be such a great player for the Indiana Pacers.
His confidence definitely was at a high this year from year’s past. I’ve talked about before, but there were times last season when Hibbert was sitting on a couch with a pyscharitist trying to figure out what’s wrong with his game. Jim O’Brien as head coach seemed to call out how bad he was playing. So having new coach Frank Vogel always the optimist had to be a breath of fresh air for Hibbert.
I believe I was hearing that the offseason before this past year, Hibbert worked with Tim Duncan on his game. Would there be a better player to work with than Duncan on the post moves? You could see Hibbert had developed that jump hook and soft touch like Duncan has right at the rim. I haven’t even talked about Hibbert on the defensive end, where I thought he was the Pacer’s defensive stopper.
He would block away shots in the lane. He’d get a hand in guys’ face if they were coming down. He really did improve in that area. He also was a rebounding machine at times. He had a season high of 17 rebounds in one game. He was right around double figures in rebounds during the playoffs as well. And as far blocks, well he got 9 blocks against the Orlando Magic in game one of the playoffs, and just missed a triple double thanks to those blocks.
He’s a real center at this position, and the first order of business I think for the Pacers is to make sure he gets paid. I would hate for the Pacers to not afford him and let him go away to someone else. He’s such an important piece to the Pacers that he needs to be here. Not sure where the Pacers would go if he’s not back next season, that’s how important I think Hibbert is.
All these paragraphs about Hibbert, and now I’m going to get into his backup for a few. How could I forget this guy, who slowly became a fan favorite with all of his hustle ability? The Pacers lost a great guy in that with losing Jeff Foster, but Lou Amundson really gave the Pacers that bit of hustle at times. Heck, he even got his own t-shirt complete with his ponytail on it. He might not have lit up the stat sheet, but he did what he could.
So this does make me think as long as Hibbert comes back and we have Amundson as the backup for another year, this is a position that can be set for next season and hopefully seasons to come.