Roy Hibbert was obviously upset with his late-game benching on Wednesday night, as the Indiana Pacers watched LeBron James and the Miami Heat rally in overtime with a last second bucket to take game one and control of the Eastern Conference Finals. Hibbert showed his frustration with a slight headshake on the bench, but did not display his displeasure vocally, a mistake he vows not to make again.
The Report via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
“I’ve grown as a player, this is my fifth year and maybe I need to start talking up more,” Hibbert told Yahoo! Sports in the losing locker room. “They pay me [max-contract money] for a reason.
“I didn’t say anything, and I wish I did. From now on, I need to speak up.”
Hibbert has a point. The Pacers matched a four-year, $58 million (max) offer sheet from the Portland Trail Blazers last Summer, keeping the 7-footer’s roots planted in Indiana. Roy is averaging 14.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game over the course of the playoffs, which is up from his regular season averages of 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
Hibbert had a phenomenal series-ending game 6 against the Knicks, notching 21 points, 12 boards and 5 blocks, as the Pacers advanced over the number 2 seeded New York Knicks in 6 games.
Hibbert also acknowledges his own shortcomings on Wednesday night, and doesn’t lay all of the blame on head coach, Frank Vogel, and his late game decision to bench Hibbert, saying:
“But I’m not going to put it all on Coach,” Hibbert said. “I gave up some possessions, some offensive rebounds. We wouldn’t have been in that position if I had handled my business.”
It sounds like Hibbert knows his value to this team, and plans to start acting as the Pacers’ vocal leader. This is a big step for the former 17th overall pick from Georgetown.