How Team Success Intertwines With Roy Hibbert’s DPOY Tweet

11.07.13 4 years ago
Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert (photo. Instagram/royhibbert55)

There’s a common misconception in sports that individual accomplishment usually falls outside the purview of team triumph. For baseball less so, but for basketball, hockey and certainly football, team success is held up as sacrosanct above singular accolades. That’s why Pacers center Roy Hibbert has gotten a little flack for his tweets following Indiana’s 97-80 dismantling of Central Division rival Chicago last night.

The Indiana Pacers are the last unbeaten team in the NBA after last night’s victory against the Bulls. They stand at 5-0 and some are whispering about Paul George for MVP. But what about Roy Hibbert as this year’s Defensive Player of the Year? It’s well-known Hibbert goal after last night’s postgame tweet.


He quickly followed up the solipsistic mention of individual accomplishment with the caveat that winning the league’s annual DPOY award would actually help — not hinder — his team’s goal of a title:


Unless you’re like many, and find Indiana’s suffocating defense paralyzing to your serotonin drip during League Pass nights, Hibbert is pretty spot-on. His interior defense, particularly protecting the rim, is the biggest reason the Pacers have inherited the moniker: biggest Heat rival (sorry Chi-town fans).

The Pacers are giving up only 86.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s absurd. Only 11 teams have held opponents sub-100 on average this season, and the Pacers are the only team under 90. In fact, only the surprising stalwart Warriors, even approach the 90-point line. Last year’s Pacers team was first in the league in defensive efficiency as well, giving up 96.6 points per 100 possessions. Only four teams last year held opponents under 100. Not even Tom Thibodeau‘s strong-side D kept teams under 100 points per 100 possessions last year, so a sub-90 mark is gargantuan.

So Indiana’s defensive acumen — at least at its present, almost historic levels — isn’t likely to continue through the rest of the season. But they’re going to be in the top spot or near it all year, and that’s largely the result of Hibbert’s presence in the paint.

Hibbert’s defense becomes even more important when you look at both his on/off numbers and the new SportVU tracking technology, which measures defensive impact. The “Sheriff of the Restricted Area,” as Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry described him this morning, leads the league in blocks, averaging 5.2 per game, despite averaging few than 30 minutes a night so far this season.

Not only that, but Hibbert’s kept opponents under 30 percent shooting at the rim in over 11 attempts per game, which is far higher than anyone else at his position. For example, the player in the NBA with the second most blocks, NOR’s Anthony Davis, defends against 5.2 field goal attempts at the rim per night, according to SportVU. Hibbert defends more than double that, at 11.4. That’s astonishing.

Just wait until we get into Hibbert’s on/off numbers. Trust us, when you see the discrepancy, even with the tiny sample size, you’ll start to think DPOY was almost an understatement.

Click page 2 for more on Hibbert’s defensive prowess…

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