Earlier in the off-season — after what Paul George described as the Pacers forgetting their “edge,” which led to a marked drop in performance during the second half of the season — the team was reportedly “quietly” shopping Roy Hibbert. We’re not so sure after a tweet and Instagram post showed Roy dining with Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with more tutelage in store.
Bird is Indiana’s team president, and after the gut-punch of Lance Stephenson‘s exit, he seems to be colluding with a former rival in order to get Hibbert’s offensive game out of the doldrums it often inhabited during Indiana’s second-half swoon this past season. Plus, Roy hasn’t ever been a force on the offensive end except for a few scattered performances against a small Heat team in the playoffs.
Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went out to dinner with Hibbert last night, and Roy reveled in the old school knowledge they doled out (probably after bread was brought to the table):
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) July 23, 2014
Not only that, but Kareem will be training Roy next season “to become a serious threat to his competitors…”
Pacer fans get ready for next season. I'm helping to get Roy ready to become a serious threat to his… https://t.co/2msrJh5sr0
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014
Roy had 0.5 offensive win shares this past season despite a career-high 5.0 defensive win shares. He also sported a career low 13.5 player efficiency rating and .440 effective field goal percentage. His rim protection and intimidation in the restricted area was instrumental in Indiana leading the league in defensive rating this past season, but he could be a hot mess on the offensive end — particularly in the second half of the year.
Still, the fact Bird tapped Kareem to help Roy seems strange to us after their 1980s battles.
But Bird and Kareem are actually buddies, which is why Bird bringing Jabbar in to help Roy isn’t as bizarre as it might appear for fans who remember the two jawing face-to-face in Game 4 of the 1984 Finals after Kareem threw an elbow near Bird’s head:
They obviously made up before they both appeared together in this Lays potato chips commercial in ’92.
Will Kareem help Roy?
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