Roy Hibbert officially retired last Tuesday, ending a once-promising career that faded too fast. Following the 2013 playoffs Hibbert was considered a rising star in the league, an elite rim protector that had the size and ability to post anybody up. He was on his way to becoming the best center in basketball.
But then Steph Curry happened. Between the 2013 and 2015 seasons the NBA made a 180-degree turn to pace and space, rendering players like Hibbert useless.
His retirement is sad but not unexpected. If Hibbert continued on his 2013 pace he might have retired as a Hall of Famer and the greatest Pacer center of all time.
But he didn’t, and his retirement sparked an interesting idea: Who are the top five centers in Indiana Pacers history?
5. Herb Williams
8 seasons with the Pacers: 15.0 ppg 7.8 rpg 2.4 apg 47.6 FG% 7 3P% , 70.6 FT%.
Williams is the perfect definition of a “good stats, bad team” player. From 1981 until his midseason trade in 1989 Indiana made the playoffs once and won less than 30 games five different times. The five worst records in franchise history occured while Williams the starting center position.
However he was dominating it. Williams averaged double-digit points in each season with Indiana, including a team-high 19.9 points per game in the 1985-86 season.
Williams had a solid career, playing 18 seasons in the NBA for the Pacers, Knicks and Mavericks. His biggest problem is that if you search for highlights of him on YouTube, all you get is a video Michael Jordan blocking him.
Oh, and getting dunked on by the entire Bulls organization.
4. Roy Hibbert
7 seasons with the Pacers: 11.8 ppg 6.8 rpg 1.9 bpg 46.4 FG% 27.3 3P%, 74.8 FT%
Hibbert squeaks by Williams only because of overall team success during his seven-year run with Indiana. Hibbert was the second-best player on a Pacers team that made back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals and had three straight seasons of win percentages above .600.
Hibbert end up being remembered more for his fall from the top rather than how he got there, but at his best he was damn exciting.
During the 2013 playoffs Hibbert not only made that block against Melo but averaged 17.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 2 BPG on 51.1 percent shooting. He scored 20 or more points in five of Indiana’s games against Miami and dominated in the post.
The only reason Hibbert isn’t higher is because after that playoff run he basically fell off a cliff, struggling in the 2014 playoffs and slowly fading out of the league.
Check back tomorrow for numbers 3, 2 and 1.