Roy Hibbert played 18 minutes. He scored 0 points and had 0 rebounds. He was -17 and had five personal fouls. According to the Pacers’ own website, veterans took him aside after the game to express their displeasure with his performance, or lack thereof. Allegedly, David West was “fuming.” And it certainly sounded that way when West talked to the press after the game.
West told reporters the team plans to “keep encouraging” Hibbert and that Hibbert has to “be a part of the fight.”
Paul George, whom has had his own problems with inconsistency, sent out the Bat Signal too. “We’re at the point where we really need Roy and we need him now,” George said following Monday’s loss.
This is bad. Players are going public with their angst? This is an act of desperation by Indiana. This is in clear violation of the Locker Room Code: you never go public with a negative critique of your teammate…ever! Yet Roy Hibbert is being called out. This also tells me that the problem isn’t a personal issue with Hibbert. Players would know and would never put Hibbert between the crosshairs if there was something going on behind the scenes in his personal life.
And there’s no easy fix for the Pacers. Hibbert signed a four-year, $58 million contract based on what he did for the Pacers last year. The Heat went out and got Greg Oden to play against Hibbert; Hibbert was the reason why many analysts believed the Pacers were poised to beat the Heat this postseason.
Finally, speaking of the Heat, provided the Pacers get past Washington, Indiana knows they must wake Hibbert up before they meet the Heat in a much anticipated Eastern Conference Final or they have no chance of winning that series.
Frank Vogel is a great coach…and he’s in trouble.