2014 All-Star Profiles: Roy Hibbert

If he’s not playing against the Miami Heat, odds are that Roy Hibbert isn’t going to bother you too much on the offensive end of the court. On the season, the former Hoya is averaging 11.8 points on 9.6 field goal attempts per game. From within 3-to-10 feet from the basket, he’s shooting just 42.9 percent, which, given his size, is pretty terrible. He’s also shooting 41.9 percent on post-ups, putting him way below the league average. And to wrap all his offensive woes up, his Player Efficiency Rating of 16.12 ranks 30th amongst all centers in the NBA.

Luckily for the Indiana Pacers, they’re not paying Hibbert nearly $15 million a year for him to efficiently score 15-to-20 points per game. If they were, he’d go down as one of the most overpaid players in the NBA. Sure, it would be nice if he could put up those numbers on a nightly basis, but it’s clear that he’s not that type of player. He’s capable of doing it every so often, but it’s a pretty rare occurrence.

He does do one thing at an elite level, though, which is why he’s a two-time All-Star.

Unlike most people who get the honor or representing their team in the All-Star Game, Hibbert hangs his hat on the defensive end of the court. By abiding by the strict laws of verticality, he’s able to frustrate anyone and everyone who dares venture into his beloved paint. He’s the anchor of the best defensive team in the NBA, one that is allowing just 90.3 points on a ball-hawking 41.1 percent shooting. He’s also averaging 2.5 blocks, the third most in the NBA, and limits opponents to a 41.3 percent clip at the rim. And there’s this: he’s only been scored on 27 times on post-ups this season according to Synergy Sports. That’s out of 99 attempts, by the way, meaning he’s giving up 0.52 points per post-up possession.

That’s absurd.

All of those gaudy numbers have gone towards helping him post the best defensive rating of his career at 94.3, which turns out to be good enough to lead the entire league. So, yeah, I guess you could say he’s a pretty good defender.

But we’re talking about the All-Star Game here. You know, the one that is notorious for having absolutely no defense. Most fans want to see alley-oops from half-court, monstrous dunks, long range threes (that should really be four-pointers) and the types of crossovers you’d expect to see in an AND1 mixtape. All that stuff about sound defense – funnelling players into help, blocking shots into the hands of teammates and limiting second chance opportunities – has no place during All-Star Weekend. We get to see 82-plus games of that.

For that reason, Roy Hibbert really isn’t your prototypical All-Star. He can’t do all those things you’d expect to see in a game that usually ends up in the mid-100’s for either side. He’s not going to space the floor with a consistent outside jumper, nor is he going to Mozgov someone off of a pick-and-roll with John Wall or Kyrie Irving. In other words, there’s not much he can do that will get the fans in New Orleans out of their seats on Sunday. But he’s aware of that and for this one and only night, he’s tempted to step out of his usual game plan to chase the elusive All-Star Game MVP.

If you’re a betting person, you’ll be happy to hear that, according to Bovada, the odds of Roy Hibbert being named MVP of the All-Star Game is 70/1. But now that you know he’s gunning for it, pile up that money! Bet your life savings! Live and die by the scoring Hibbert! You won’t regret it!

Okay, maybe you will. If he shoots one three, it’ll probably be enough to bring the house down and the chances of him playing enough minutes to win the MVP are about…well, 70/1. To add to that, he’ll more than likely look out of place when he shares the court with Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden on Sunday night, but don’t let that fool you: Roy Hibbert is certainly an All-Star and at this point in the season, he’s the runaway Defensive Player of the Year.

Scott Rafferty