You get the feeling Big Roy needs a good cry and a hug to help him find out where the defensive anchor for the Pacers went.
The only problem is that when you go to wrap your arms around him, he’s not there . . . because he’s fallen on the floor from just the idea that contact was coming.
In the last year of his contract, Hibbert got a fresh start with the Lakers after being dealt from the Pacers where he had enjoyed his best years, including the 2012-2013 season when he averaged 12.8 pints, 8.8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Surely, he would be an improvement in the middle given that in 2014-2015, the only Laker to average even one block per game was Ed Davis, who had left for the Trailblazers in the offseason, and no Laker averaged eight or more rebounds per game.
With 12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks in his first game of the season, and 5 more blocks the next, it looked like Hibbert’s game had been reshaped to what it once was when he was an Eastern Conference All-Star. Unfortunately, the games that followed proved that not even the Kardashian’s plastic surgeons could reshape Roy.
Per game, Hibbert averaged a dismal 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. A man standing seven feet and two inches should be able to get more rebounds and blocks each game just by putting his arms straight up in the air under the basket.
The Lakers intended Hibbert to be the rim-protector the team had long been lacking, yet he had the worst defensive win share total since his rookie season.
It’s clear that Hibbert has never been the same since his dramatic decline in the 2013-2014 NBA Playoffs. Many people might suggest that Hibbert’s decreased production is simply the result of an evolving league where large lumbering centers are going the way of the dinosaurs. The problem with that theory is that it would necessarily suggest then that Hibbert would have fared better against teams with similarly sized centers.
But the data reveals that he did not.
By example, in four games against seven-footer Steven Adams of the Thunder, Hibbert put up 2 points and grabbed 3 rebounds, 4 points and 1 rebound, 2 points and 3 rebounds, and 8 points and 2 rebounds, respectively.
In two games against seven-footer Marcin Gortat of the Wizards, Hibbert scored 2 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, and 2 points and 3 rebounds, respectively.
In other words, against other traditional big men, Hibbert essentially put up worse numbers than his season averages.
With that in mind, it becomes apparent that the league is not entirely done with the big man, it’s just done with this big man for now.
Areas of Improvement: Playing monsters and aliens in film and television, because that may be the only work available for a man of his stature that can’t protect the paint.
Future with the Lakers: None. With the acquisition of Hibbert, the Lakers played the low risk, high reward game knowing that if he was a bust, the team would still enjoy substantial cap room once his $15.5 million dollar contract came off the books at the end of the year.
Overall Grade: F