Roy Hibbert can draw a crowd.
As Mike Wells points out in his piece today, the Indiana Pacers' center has become the focal point of the team's half-court offense and finding success through patience. As he draws the defense's attention, he can find teammates cutting for buckets. It's safe to say, that Hibbert is meeting expectations for making a big strides on the court this season and in fact, exceeding those hopes through three games.
But Hibbert has done even more in a leadership role on this team, naturally evolving into the face of the franchise among the paying public. His Area55 promotion become a major positive force at the Fieldhouse. During player intros, while other players acknowledged the crowd, Hibbert raised his arms in the air as if to tell the Fieldhouse faithful to come along and follow him and his teammates on their journey this season. He was the only choice to grab the mic minutes later to implore the crowd to lower their guard and let it all out for the blue and gold.
If there was an election for the Mayor of the Fieldhouse, Hibbert would win in a landslide.
Consider this another assist from Hibbert to Danny Granger. Granger is the best player on the team but has struggled with the face of the franchise/team leader role through the rough stretches of the past two seasons. Granger appears to have ramped up his leadership efforts amongst the team and on the court which he may find easier now that Hibbert is sharing some of the load, especially that public-facing role. It has to help Granger focus on what he does best, having someone to help carry the weight of expectations for the franchise.
This is no criticism of Granger. It's okay to be more introverted and not comfortable projecting an emotional, public persona, enjoying the chance to go out to shake hands and kiss babies. There's a difference between being willing to do that sort of thing, as Granger is, and embracing that type of public interaction, which Hibbert seems to do. By the way, Paul George has that affable personality and seems at ease with the fan interaction, as well.
This type of emotional, team chemistry, no advanced statistic can measure stuff can play a factor in the team coming together to play better on the court. Team chemistry is a big concern this season with so many players on the last year of their contract. The stronger the bonds tighten while things are going well, the better they'll withstand the adversity which is certain to hit at some point in the season.
But until then, squeeze all of the enjoyment you can out of watching this young team grow together on the court.
After the jump, a few links of interest, including Josh McRoberts drawing attention for his high flying ways.
Hibbert: Center of attention
Mike Wells reports on Roy Hibberts increased role in the Pacers' offense.
Best Pacer Poster Job: Collison on Williams or McRoberts on Turner? | HoopsVibe
Oly Sandor presents the option. I'm so greedy at this point I'm taking both.
Come Fly With McBob! " NBA.com | Hang Time Blog
The folks at NBA.com love them some McRoberts.
- Josh McRoberts Will Dunk on Your Head
D-League Draft Pool Released -- NBA FanHouse
Magnum Rolle is a notable name among the D-League draft.
Former Portland Trail Blazer great Maurice Lucas dies at 58 - ESPN
Saddened to hear the news of Mo's passing, one of the all-time great role players/enforcers in the NBA. Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuc!!!!!!!!