After reading Rob Mahoney's article on Hibbert, I thought the article and its subject deserved a FanPost and dedicated discussion thread.
What do you all think is the cause Hibbert's decline? A "sophomore slump"? JOB's earlier demoralizing comments about Roy? Defenses adjusting? All of the above?
I've been pondering this for a while and wanted to share my thoughts. Blaming it on JOB would be nice (I blame everything else on him...), but probably unfair. The best I can come up with is that Hibbert's decline is first and foremost a result of the defensive strategy other teams have been employing against him. I.e, their scouting reports on Hibbert have improved.
It seems to me that as the season has progressed, Hibbert's shots from the low post have been moving further and further from the basket. In the beginning of the season, his bread and butter was the back to basket, low post, hook shot (with either hand). He was getting pretty good at making those from 4-5 feet. Recently, it seems to me that more and more of those shots are being taken from 6 or 7 feet instead. Just a foot or two can make a huge difference in the low post. I don't have any data to back this theory up (perhaps someone can assemble some). This is simply my observation from watching every single game.
In the beginning of the season, perhaps teams were more willing to allow Roy position under the basket, but once he showed that he was able to capitalize on those opportunities (something he wasn't necessarily able to do in previous years), teams' low post defense began to focus on keeping Roy just a little bit further from the rim. Either Roy has forgot how to fight for good post position, or he never had the lower body strength to do so in the first place.
Am I way off base here? Thoughts?