Charlotte Hornets: Roy Hibbert, Under the Microscope


As one of the Charlotte Hornets’ newest acquisitions, Roy Hibbert will have a lot to prove this season as he looks to bounce back from a down year.

In my last article, the top two players in each position for the Charlotte Hornets were listed with their averages and a minor description. However, circumstances led to some values being skewed and/or disappointing. Whether due to injury, confidence or lack of production, some values were influenced for multiple players, but none more than Roy Hibbert.

As stated in my previous article, Roy Hibbert suffered lows in minutes (23.2), points (5.9), rebounds (4.9) and blocks (1.4). Most were the lowest totals since his rookie season in Indiana. But a detailed look shows a little more about Hibbert than most think.

Statistically, Hibbert was not as bad as most believe. The biggest reason for the decline is the obvious reason, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers under Coach Byron Scott. The fiery garbage that was the Lakers not only disappointed millions of fans, but they were run so badly that no man was safe from the heartbreak of decline.

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With a rapidly declining susperstar in Kobe Bryant, young shoot first teammates and no sense of structure, Hibbert became another former superstar who couldn’t change the trajectory of a falling team. Other stars like Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin before Hibbert also failed in the purple and gold for similar reasons.

In LA’s chaotic system, many players were not used to their fullest abilities. Bryant was handed the keys to win or lose each game if healthy, Jordan Clarkson would play the role as savior, Nick Young would attempt channel his inner James Harden, D’Angelo Russell would help fracture the minimal amount of the team’s trust and the others were seemingly unprepared to constantly play at an NBA level. For Hibbert, the defensive specialist was in a bad situation from the start.

Though Hibbert started and played in 81 games last year, his talents were severely misused. Hibbert, at 7’2 and 270lbs, has always been a defensively talented pure center who had strength to finish down low if needed. Never counted on to be a first, second or third scoring option, Hibbert can be a quality scorer inside by utilizing his size against smaller players and nail the occasional jump shot. But I digress…

After averaging a low in minutes, Hibbert proceeded to average only 5.1 field goal attempts per game after averaging 9.3 the previous two years with the Indiana Pacers, effectively dropping his points per game average from 9.3 to 5.1. Yet, Hibbert’s field goal percentage barely dropped. Hibbert shot 44.3% from the field last year after shooting 44.6% the year before and 43.9% the year before that. The other lows were in rebounds and blocks and can both be attributed to constantly being out of position.

Another big reason for the decline is the lack of confidence. Hibbert, once an All-Star, in his last year in Indiana averaged 10.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. But, Hibbert was overwhelmed by the added responsibility of carrying a Pacers team without star player Paul George.

However, the big man still posted multiple double digit point totals, though most would say that the increase in offensive responsibility proved too much for the big man at times. And instead of sticking with the seven year Pacer, Indiana’s front office shipped the confidence stripped player to a faltering team, where he spent his final $15.5 million year in LA.

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However, Hibbert still flashed moments of the All-Star level talent. And now with his third NBA team, Hibbert could regain his All-Star form with new teammates and coaches that can better use his NBA skillset, and people who will respect him on and off the basketball court. He’ll be on a defensively minded Hornets team run by widely respected Head Coach Steve Clifford while being given a refresher course from NBA legend Patrick Ewing.

Hibbert is in one of the best positions to rebound his career with unselfish players who aim to be a team rather than individuals, and a team who happens to play the best style of basketball that fits his talents: the four out, one in offensive set.

In the last few years, the Carolina team has had a great record of rebounding careers. Minus the Lance Stephenson experiment, Charlotte has had a hand in helping further the careers of Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee, Al Jefferson, Josh McRoberts, Marvin Williams, Mo Williams and Nicolas Batum. So, could Hibbert be the next player to rebound his career in Charlotte?

Next: Charlotte Hornets: Positional Breakdown

Could he be in the best position for the betterment of his career? Could he even be in a position to start for the Hornets come September and October? Much is to be seen for Hibbert and the 2016-17 Charlotte Hornets. So are you ready?