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Could Roy Hibbert be more than DPOY?

Analysis of advanced statistics and SportsVU data shows that Roy Hibbert could be on pace to be more than just the next DPOY - he has the potential to go down as one of the top defenders in Pacers' history.

Andy Lyons

Look no further than Roy Hibbert's own twitter account for proof that the Pacers' center wants to win DPOY:

While some may have taken offense at Roy's brashness, there is absolutely no doubt that he is backing up his words off the court with his play on the court.

Just how good has the Big Dawg been at anchoring the Pacers' defense?

Well, this season he has been throwing one major block party and all opponents have been invited.

According to, Hibbert has recorded at least one block in 22 of the Pacers' first 23 games (12/8 vs. OKC being the lone exception). More impressively, on three occasions, he has racked up 7 or more denials in a single game (10/29 vs. Orlando; 11/5 @ Detroit; 11/15 vs. Milwaukee).

Currently, the Pacers' center leads the league in total blocks with 69. He is second in the league in terms of blocks per game with exactly three rejections per contest. Although Anthony Davis is No. 1 in block percentage with 9.0% (an estimate of the percentage of opponent two-point field goal attempts blocked by the player while he was on the floor), Hibbert posts an impressive mark of 7.1% in fewer minutes per game (for reference, the next ranked player is John Henson with 6.7%).

If blocks are not enough evidence to warrant being a defensive player of the year candidate, take a look at some of Roy's advanced defensive statistics.

First of all, it is notable that the Pacers, as a whole, post the league's best defensive rating with a mark of 96.1 points allowed per 100 possessions (per With an entire starting line-up chalked full of elite, stingy defenders, Roy is second to none - allowing a mere 93.0 points per 100 possessions. That number is better than the defensive ratings earned by all of the rest of the league's top shot blockers. The next nearest frontcourt player in terms of defensive rating is Roy's mentor and future Hall of Famer, Tim Duncan with a mark of 95 points allowed per 100 possessions.

If one chooses to evaluate defenders through the use of the NBA's new Player Tracking data generated by SportsVU software that, according to, "tracks the movements of every player on the court and the basketball 25 times per second," he/she will find that no player has a greater defensive impact on the game than Roy Hibbert.

Through the usage of the Player Tracking data, it can be determined that Hibbert is the No.1 ranked player in the NBA in terms of opponent field goal percentage at the rim (field goal percentage of an opposing player's or team's shots at the rim while being defended) posting a ridiculously low number of just 40.5% (note: only two players in the league allow an opponent field goal percentage less than 45% - Anthony Davis and Roy Hibbert).

If all of this is not sufficient enough, an excerpt from TrueHoop's Henry Abbott over at further underscores the Big Dawg's defensive prowess:

"... if you take every two-player combination in the league, from every team, the best combination out of all of those thousands, in terms of holding opponents to the fewest points per possession, is the Pacers' Roy Hibbert and David West.

In and of itself, that does not prove they are the two best defenders. Far from it. But it would be just about impossible for them to be so high on the list while being lousy at defense. And that they belong there is affirmed by this: The second best combination out of the whole league? Hibbert and Paul George. Fourth best is Hibbert and George Hill. Amazingly, Pacers account for nine of the league's dozen most effective two-player defensive combinations, and Hibbert is part of most of 'em."

What does all of this prove?

Well, at the very least, Roy will likely not have to call out the media, again, on national television for failing to cast their votes for him in the DPOY balloting.

Evaluate his defense with any method of measurement - total blocks, defensive rating, SportsVU data, defensive duos.

It does not matter.

Roy Hibbert is the frontrunner for DPOY.

However, while his bid for the league's best defender has been well-documented, what may be going under the radar is the notion that Hibbert actually has the potential to be more than just DPOY - he could be one of the franchise's greatest defenders of all time.

If the season were to end today, Roy's name would go down in the Pacers' records books as the single season leader in a number of different defensive categories. In terms of blocks per game, Hibbert would be the new season leader with 3.0blkpg (Jermaine O'Neal currently has control of the top spot with the 2.8blkpg he recorded during the 2000-2001 season). Moreover, Roy would be listed as the Pacer with the highest single season block percentage with a number of 7.1% (this would top the 6.7 block percentage he recorded in the 2012-2013 season).The Big Dawg would also be recognized for posting the stingiest defensive rating (allowing just 93.0 points per 100 possessions) in a single season (besting his own record from last season when he recorded a mark of 93.1).

Not impressed?

It is possible for Roy to become one of the top four career leaders in shot blocking. According to, Roy has recorded 752 blocks thus far in his career with the Indiana Pacers. If Hibbert is able to maintain his current rate of 3.0 blocks per game over the course of the remaining 59 games this season, he could reach a total of 929 blocks for his career. That number is good enough to earn him the spot as the fourth best shot blocker in Pacers' history (behind only Jermaine O'Neal, 1245; Rik Smits, 1111; and Herb Williams, 1094).

Certainly, the aforementioned stats, analytics, and data indicate that Hibbert more than qualifies to be DPOY, but he also has the potential to be much more.

He is anchoring the NBA's best defense.

He is allowing the lowest percentage of opponent points at the rim.

He is currently posting the top defensive rating amongst the league's premier shot blockers.

He is besting 2012-2013 Roy Hibbert in a number of defensive single season categories.

And he has the potential to be one of his franchise's best defenders ever - in just six seasons as a Pacer.