Roy Hibbert earns Tim Duncan's respect with work ethic

USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers center took advantage of his opportunity to learn from a Hall of Famer and continues to lean on his mentor.

Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert has been working with Tim Duncan for a couple of years now, as we've chronicled hereherehere and here. With an endorsement from new teammate at the time, George Hill,Hibbert joined Duncan for workouts during the NBA's lockout two years ago this week.

Since that first meeting, the pair have remained in contact and reunited this offseason for a series of workouts. One thing that was under-reported in this story is how reluctant Duncan is to add others outside the Spurs organization to his inner circle. ESPN's Brian Windhorst touched on this topic when he discussed the working relationship between the two big men with Duncan. Turns out, Hibbert impressed Duncan with his work ethic which has opened up a treasure trove of big man intelligence to help supplement Big Roy's development as one of the top big men in the NBA.

Duncan was impressed that Hibbert came to him, and he quickly built a relationship with Hibbert.

"During the lockout, everyone was looking for someone to work out with," Duncan said. "I saw quickly that he's got a good work ethic."

They weren't just working out together, they were going to dinners and having long conversations. They were talking strategy and personal life. Duncan started sending Hibbert his personal scouting reports on opposing big men throughout the league, and Hibbert starting sharing his notes as well.

Thinking about this story, I think everyone needs to re-evalute the draft night trade between the Pacers and Spurs. On the surface it was George Hill for Kawhi Leonard, but with GHill setting up this working relationship between Duncan and Hibbert, the Pacers continue to reap the benefits of the deal. Check out the whole article, great stuff from both players.

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