Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert has worked hard to develop his physical game which has shown itself this season with a vastly improved jump hook and a stronger presence protecting the rim on defense. Look no further than the Pacers win over the Celtics on Saturday when Hibbert chased down Kevin Garnett on a break-away, blocking KG at the rim and sending the ball the other way.
Hibbert is also pretty smart and he's taken steps to improve the mental side of the game that he's struggled to deal with in the past when things weren't going his way. He's employed some new relaxation exercises while also enjoying a new coaching staff that keeps him on point with his role and helps keep his mind straight.
While the coaching staff does a great job of preparing game plans, Hibbert is also getting is own personal scouting report from San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan to add to Big Roy's confidence which has become a constant.
"Tim is a great guy I can talk to," Hibbert explained. "I met him when I was a kid at an All-Star game when I was a freshman in high school in D.C. and he remembered that time."
The pair really got to know each other during the long offseason when George Hill invited Hibbert to join him in San Antonio for workouts with Duncan. The two hit it off and Big Roy has been smart enough to tap into Duncan as an incredible resource to prepare for games.
"I text him and I ask him how to play different big guys to help me with the little moves to get a little edge on guys," Hibbert said. "So he's just like a little voice in my ear and I keep in touch with him regularly."
Hard to think of a better player for Hibbert to learn under considering Duncan's Hall of Fame career developed from the foundation of consistently executing the little, fundamental aspects of the game to gain an edge.
"He gives me a scouting report," Hibbert explained. "He's been down that road, playing against all of these guys before, so he knows how to play them."
Since Hibbert doesn't have the same game as the Spurs' Hall of Famer, Duncan tailors the message to match Hibbert's strengths.
"Yeah, he tells me to use this foot or use this hand to shield guys off," Hibbert said. "So he tells me the small little things I can do for my game to improve."
So when you stop and add it all up -- working on his game, adding size and strength, focusing on mental preparation AND getting personalized scouting reports from Tim Duncan -- it makes a lot more sense that Hibbert has become a reliable post presence for the Pacers.
We invite you to follow Indy Cornrows on Twitter and like Indy Cornrows on Facebook.