Roy Hibbert Will Flourish With the Charlotte Hornets

Jan 12, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert (17) gestures from the court against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 12, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert (17) gestures from the court against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Even though center, Roy Hibbert, is coming off of a down season with the Lakers, he will flourish with the Charlotte Hornets after singing a one-year deal.

The Charlotte Hornets continue to win in free agency as they have recently signed two-time all-star, Roy Hibbert, to a one-year, $5 million contract. This should be viewed as an absolute steal for the team. Hibbert’s value took a hit on the open market this offseason because of the down year that he had in Los Angeles. The team needed to replace Al Jefferson who signed with the Indiana Pacers in free agency.

After spending one season with the dumpster fire that is the Lakers’ organization, Roy’s value was at an all-time low this offseason. Many think he is washed-up or that he can’t play in this league anymore but I believe that he still has a lot left in the tank. This is the perfect low risk, high reward signing for the Hornets.

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Hibbert’s contract with Charlotte should be looked at the same as Jeremy Lin‘s deal from last season. Lin was coming off of a down season with the Lakers and after signing for only $4.3 million over two years, he was able to reestablish his value in the NBA. He recently signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets this summer.

Roy struggled to find any consistency under Byron Scott‘s system, like many of their players did, in LA. He was forced to play under a bad coach for a bad team that didn’t have any sense of cohesion. Things will be turned around this year when he plays for coach Clifford in Charlotte.

The 7’2 big man averaged a career low 5.9 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks per game this past season in Los Angeles. He shot 44.3% from the field and 80.7% from the free throw line. He played and started in 81 games with the Lakers and only missed one game this past year.

Hibbert has shown previously in his career that he can be a top-10 big man in the NBA. He is a two-time all-star and he was also on the second all-defensive team for the 2013-2014 season. He has also had three seasons as a top-five shot blocker in the league with over 2.0 blocks a game.

Roy was able to flourish under Frank Vogel in Indiana a few seasons ago because he was in a winning system where his talents and strengths could be utilized. That’s exactly what the Charlotte Hornets will be looking to do with him this year. Under defensive minded head coach, Steve Clifford, and associate head coach and hall of fame big man, Patrick Ewing, Hibbert has the best opportunity possible to resurrect his career.

Before free agency started, the Hornets had a gaping hole in the interior as they did not have a big man who could defend the paint and rebound the ball effectively. They have now just signed one of the biggest and best defensive centers in recent seasons. He has the size to defend at the rim and rebound over smaller opponents.

During his seven seasons in Indiana, Hibbert averaged 11.1 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, and 1.9 blocks per game. I wouldn’t be surprised if he competed for a starting spot with Charlotte. He could easily take over the starting center role from Cody Zeller who is showing improvement but isn’t a prototypical NBA big man.

Although many believe that his best days are behind him and that he is too slow to succeed today’s NBA, Roy still has a lot to offer a winning team that has the right system for him to play in. Hibbert’s size could either be seen as an advantage or as a hinderance. It all depends on how he is used and what players are put around him.

Many bashed the Charlotte Hornets for this signing because of the horrible season that he had with one of the worst teams’ in the NBA last year but the upside of this acquisition outweighs the negatives. At best, the Hornets just got a big man who could be a borderline all-star and a solid starter. At worst, they have a quality back-up big man to play behind Zeller off of the bench on a cheap contract.

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The Charlotte Hornets have been known for their under the radar free agent signings over the past few years and this may add to the list. Hibbert is only 29-years old which is when players usually hit the prime of their careers. I really think that Roy has what it takes to succeed in Charlotte with a great, defensive minded coach in Clifford and a winning team that has good chemistry and talented players.