The Pacers went 10-12 in their final 22 games of the 2013-14 NBA season. Still, after starting the season red hot, they had built enough of a buffer to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, thereby solidifying home-court for what looks to be an inevitable Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Heat. During Indy’s fall from grace, Roy Hibbert vented to the media, calling out unnamed teammates for being selfish. Now, on the precipice of the playoffs, Hibbert says he was wrong to take his issues public.
On Friday, Hibbert showed remorse after he publicly condemned some teammates for being selfish. He said on “ESPN First Take” that he was wrong to lash out in the media about his teammates:
“You know, I think that I should’ve kept my frustrations to myself or just in the locker room,” Hibbert said on “ESPN First Take.”
“I will admit that it wasn’t the best thing to do. I’ll learn from that, and I was wrong. There are better ways to handle that than going to the media. All in all, I learned. I talked to my teammates; they talked to me. I’m willing to accept the criticism. It wasn’t the best thing to do.”
As we already wrote about, Hibbert’s frustrations came out in post-game comments following a Friday loss to the Wizards when he told reporters there’s “Some selfish dudes in here. Some selfish dudes. I’m tired of talking about it. We’ve been talking about it for a month.”
The Pacers just didn’t look like NBA Finals contenders in the late March and April. Their offense devolved into a me-first collection of incongruent parts that couldn’t coexist, so it’s not like Hibbert’s comments were totally off-base, just that they should have stayed within the confines of the team.
Ostensible star Paul George is struggling too, but Hibbert probably faltered the most as the regular season concluded. In his last four games, the beast created in the offseason was just 3-for-28 from the field for nine points in those contests. To repeat: those numbers are an aggregate of those four games.
Hibbert was smart to acknowledge his public relations blunder, even if there was a grain of truth to his comments. But with the Pacers kicking off their series against Atlanta on Saturday, they’ll need him to return to his butt-kicking days when “verticality” was just a buzz word for Hibbert’s defensive dominance.
What do you think?
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