Since Roy Hibbert signed his max deal with the Pacers, fans have become overly critical of his play (rightfully so, in my opinion). Most fans don't grasp how great he has played on defensive, and they criticize how he has played on offense.
In roughly four and a half year in the league, Hibbert is averaging 11 points and 6.6 rebounds per game to go along with a 47.1 FG%. All in all, that's not bad at all. However, for a player that's 7'2", a lot of people would like to see him averaging at least a double double.
Over the past six games, Roy has been playing at the level you would expect a 7'2" player making $58M to play. So well, in fact, that I'm not the only person who has noticed.
The Indy Star's Mike Wells has noticed as well, and wrote a great piece on it.
In those six games, Hibbert has averaged 14.5 points on 57% shooting. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks in the Pacers' win over the Bulls on Sunday evening.
The biggest facet of Hibbert's game that has been under the most criticism since he was drafted in 2008 is his work ethic. According to Wells' article, that's on the up and up. He's taken that work ethic to an even higher level this season.
It started when he called Vogel to workout after he was held scoreless against Atlanta in late December. Now he doesn't hesitate to call assistant coach Jim Boylen on off days to get in extra work.
Hibbert and the other five big men - David West, Jeff Pendergraph, Ian Mahinmi, Tyler Hansbrough and Miles Plumlee - spend about 45 minutes after practice doing the "pepper drill."
The pepper drill consists of Pacers assistant coach Jim Boylen pelting passes at these guys, who have to hit ten shots in a row before they're done. The catch? The passes are coming fast. Usually, you're looking to receive a pass before your previous shot has hit the floor.
This, no doubt, has widely contributed to Roy's recent success.
For me, I'm concerned about consistency. We've seen spurts like this from Roy in the past, only for him to return to his normal, lackluster self (on offense, at least). However, I'm optimistic. I think he's in a great place for someone who's trying to become more offensively sound. It's not like he needs to be putting up 30 points and 20 rebounds a night, especially since he's playing alongside a guy like David West.
All I want to see him do is continue to shoot at a high level. If Roy could shoot around 50% for the rest of the season, that would be extremely uplifting. He's so dominant around the rim on defense, so there's no reason he can't be the same way on the other end of the floor.
The biggest thing the Pacers can gain from Hibbert being offensively great is a distraction. If Roy is averaging around 20 points a game while shooting 50%, he's drawing attention on the paint, which opens up room on the perimeter for the Paul George's and the George Hill's.
I'll be looking forward to the Pacers matchup, against Boston, on Wednesday night. Let's see what Roy can do.