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Roy Hibbert paid Pacers reserves to keep defensive clamps on Bobcats

Jan 16, 2013, 2:25 PM EDT

Indiana Pacers' Hibbert looks to pass the ball against Charlotte Bobcats' Haywood during their NBA basketball game in Charlotte Reuters

The Indiana Pacers are the best defensive team in the NBA right now. Hands down. Zach Lowe did a fantastic breakdown of what they are doing over at Grantland. The Pacers are long, everybody can defend, their guys move on a string — one moves then the next moves to cover — and it’s just good basketball. Not highlight-filled beautiful basketball, but winning basketball.

That defense execution extends to their reserves — with no starters on the floor the Pacers defense would still be middle of the pack in the NBA. No other NBA team can say that.

But Roy Hibbert wanted to make sure the bench guys were motivated Tuesday nigh so he offered a little incentive against the Bobcats, reports the Indy Star.

Keep the Bobcats in the 70s, Hibbert instructed the five reserve players checked in the game. It’s worth $100 per man.

“I’m a man of my word,” he assured them.

In a happy locker room following a 103-76 blowout, the highest-paid Pacer ($13.66 million this season) handed out large bills to three teammates, including one he couldn’t name, Dominic McGuire, who is playing on a 10-day contract. Jeff Pendergraph refused his reward. Ben Hansbrough must wait until Hibbert finds an ATM.

The Pacers are having fun and improving game to game. Paul George to me is an All-Star player who has stepped up with Danny Granger out. Then in a few weeks Granger will not be out anymore and the Pacers offense should improve while the defense remains the same (Granger is a good wing defender).

Hibbert continues to be in an offensive slump that he needs to shake, and there are other questions about the Pacers for the playoffs. But if you can defend you are in games and have a chance.

And if you can motivate the bench to defend, all the better. And Hibbert may have found a way.

  1. money2long - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    is this legal to do ?

    • zidanevalor - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      That was my first question as well. Because I know it’s illegal in the NFL for players to give cash-incentives to each other.

      I mean, if it is legal, then good for Hibbert for motivating his teammates and then keeping his word. But I wonder if he’ll be hearing from the league office about this.

      • zerole00 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        There’s a difference between paying someone to play well, and paying someone to injure another player. As far as I know, only the latter is illegal, because let’s be honest – their contracts essentially do the former. This type of thing is just EXTRA incentive.

      • zidanevalor - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:37 PM

        Actually, both are illegal in the NFL. You cannot offer a teammate money for scoring a TD or something. It’s a salary cap violation.

      • money2long - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        ^^that is EXACTLY why i asked the question.

        could you imagine if mikhail prokhorov, whose team is over the cap, signed a decent free agent in the off season to a minimum deal, but told him, “hey, i’ll give you 10,000 bucks every time you get a double double” ? i mean, c’mon…who knows what is going on here. i bet there is a reason pendergraph rejected the money, cause even he probably wants to stay clean of this situation just in case this turns a bad corner violation-wise.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      isn’t this how the Saints got into trouble?

      oh boy, wait til Dave finds out.

  2. mungman69 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Sure it’s legal. It’s like a bonus.

  3. cosanostra71 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Roger Goodell has just announced that Roy Hibbert is suspended for the entire 2013 NFL season. Drew Brees needs an explanation.

    • dacapt704 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      Tiki Barber is flabbergasted..

  4. magicbucs - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    He’s not paying them $10,000 to injure them or to give flagrant fouls. He’s paying $100 to keep their opponent under 80 Pts… Of course it’s legal.

    • money2long - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      don’t be so sure there

  5. 00maltliquor - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    I love this story!

    And if this is illegal, then shame on the commish!

  6. davidly - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    I don’t care how you express it, Kurt; Indiana’s defense is, absolutely, a thing of beauty.

  7. libertarianvoter - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    “..with no starters on the floor the Pacers defense would still be middle of the pack in the NBA. No other NBA team can say that.”

    Wrong. Did you just pull that out of thin air? Do a little research. The Clippers’ all-bench group of Bledsoe-Crawford-Barnes-Odom-Turiaf give up 87.2 points per 100 possessions. If it were a stand alone team, not only would it be well above middle of the pack (NBA average is 102.4), it would easily LEAD THE LEAGUE (IND at 95.4).

  8. abchome - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    I think it would be much better if he promised to buy the team a dinner instead.

  9. mazblast - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    David Stern is not amused by this. He will announce a fine to be paid by the Spurs tomorrow.

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