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Stan Van Gundy: Roy Hibbert doesn’t hold a candle to Dwight Howard

May 30, 2013, 3:13 PM EDT

BASKET-US-LAKERS-PACERS

Dwight Howard just had the worst postseason of his career. Roy Hibbert, on the other hand, is putting together a great playoff run. Those facts, coupled Howard’s annoying tendencies, have turned some people a little loopy when faced with the following question:

Would you rather have Howard or Hibbert?

But even Stan Van Gundy, the coach Howard got fired in Orlando, can bring levity to the discussion. As transcribed by Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel

“Come on, that one’s not close,” Van Gundy said during his weekly Thursday segment on our Open Mike morning radio show on 740 AM. “You could put that question to 30 general managers in the league — and give them the choice — and Indiana, out of loyalty, might take Hibbert although I would doubt it. The other 29 would not even hesitate. Everybody’s taking Dwight.

“I understand … Roy Hibbert is playing the best basketball of his career right now (against the Heat). You have to understand that Roy Hibbert during the regular season had seven games where he had (at least) 20 points and 10 rebounds and now he has three in this series. So now people are looking at him and saying he’s great. He averages 11 points per game in his career and he’s not a terrific rebounder although he is an elite-level defender. But on the offensive end of the floor he’s never done (what he’s doing now) and he’s really taking advantage of a very, very small Miami Heat team and a defender in Chris Bosh who right now in the series has just not stepped up into the battle at all.”

Even with Hibbert up and Howard down, Howard averaged more points and rebounds per game and shot a higher percentage in these playoffs. Regardless, we shouldn’t get carried away with such a small sample.

Just a couple months ago, Hibbert’s max contract seemed like a huge burden to the Pacers. After the worst season of his career, Howard will have teams lining up to offer him a max contract.

Howard will have to sink a lot lower for a lot longer before Hibbert passes him.

  1. eugenesaxe - May 30, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Hibbert’s good enough that his maturity and class put him over howard in my book. Hibbert won’t be causing anybody any problems, and that’s a very good thing.

  2. redbullenergydrink - May 30, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Like him or not, Stan’s got a point.

    • 4thquartermagic - May 30, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Yeah. But the follow up question should’ve been:

      “Would those same 29 gm’s want the headache that comes with having a drama-queen like Dwight on their team?”

      • 4thquartermagic - May 30, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Furthermore, SVG points to Hibbert’s opposition (Bosh) to explain his dominance.
        But who is the center that Dwight has so masterfully dominated?

        Timmy Duncan held more then his own this year when the Spurs swept the Lakers.
        Andre Bynum also held his own in 2009 when the Lakers beat the Magic in 5.

        Love SVG but he knows Dwight is a physical freak/mental midget better then anybody.

      • borderline1988 - May 30, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        I can’t believe this is even a discussion.

        Howard carried a team of nobodies to the Finals. I agree that perhaps a lot of the credit for that has to do with SVG.
        But you have to be off your rocker to believe Roy Hibbert can carry a team through a single playoff series, let alone to the Finals.

        Hibbert is more of a garbage scorer than anything else. He finishes passes at the rim, and grabs some rebounds and puts them back. He maybe scores 2 or 3 baskets a game where he actually does the work. He’s not that great in the pick and roll game either.

        Conversely Howard was the focal point of the offense in Orlando for years.
        Howard’s also a better defender when healthy.

        There’s just no comparison, and there will never be one.

      • brookwell2013 - May 31, 2013 at 1:38 AM

        The problem with Dwight Howard is not limited to his unstable personality both inside and outside of the locker room — it is what Bill simmons meticulouly documented in his recent article; Howard has commenced a production decline that is in all likelihood irreversible. Simmon’s sample included over a dozen big men and was very persuasive; Howard has been declining in his production both offensively and defensively and the likelihood he will reverse that is virtually nill. The huge question for the Lakers is this: will young Buss realize that the bigger risk to the organization is signing Howard to a long term deal rather than NOT signing him. In other words, it seems less risky to NOT sign him to the giant max deal than to sign him! Will Buss have the guts to make that call. Probably not. Stan VG is loyal to Howard but he’s nuts if he thinks 29 GM’s would take D12 over Hibbert. No way. D12 would get a 50-50 split at best. he’s a total knuckelhead and not a wariot.

  3. jimfix - May 30, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    In other news: Kobe is better than Lance; Chris Paul is better than George Hill; Durant is better than Paul George; Kevin Love is better than David West

    Only one of each of those players is still playing right now though. So…

    • money2long - May 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      you’re facetious comments is demonstrating how apparent the thought is of who’s better between dwight and hibbert, yet the conversation of roy being the best center in the nba actually got a little going yesterday or so. i wasn’t buying though

  4. bucrightoff - May 30, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    From a physical standpoint no doubt about it. But since Howard has the maturity of a 5 year old and Hibbert that of an actual adult, it makes a big difference.

    • aboogy123456 - May 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Hibbert might be more mature but still comes off as one of the most immature players in the league. If Dwight is 5, then hibbert is no more than 6 or 7 years old.

    • chadley71 - May 30, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      hibbert is one of the most intelligent & mature NBA players and to compare him to dwight howard…. what a stretch.
      howard is a childish drama queen

    • danfrommv - May 31, 2013 at 3:29 AM

      Actually, I have appreciated Hibbert’s comments during the Heat series. He appears to have a passion for the game (Andrew Bynum, you play because you can), and he hits free throws (DH, you are a iiablity by allowing a hack-a-Dwitght).

  5. kingbeason52 - May 30, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    A healthy and happy Dwight is a top 5 player in the league…whether you like him or not

    • danfrommv - May 31, 2013 at 3:30 AM

      May never be completely healthy again. Will never be mature enough to be happy

  6. aboogy123456 - May 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    This just shows how bad Dwight has ruined his reputation to the point that we are actually comparing him to Hibbert. Hibbert is a nice player, but come on, really? Dwight will come back strong next year and I think remind us what he is capable of.

  7. funktron2x - May 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    hibbert ain’t gonna do this to sa if they make it to finals, that is for sure

    • bdoctor1973 - May 30, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      cause they want be playing spurs..the heat will!!!

  8. gmsalpha - May 30, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Hibbert is a career .729 free throw shooter. Howard is a .492 free throw shooter.

    Howard is a better player, but he sure is leaving a lot of points on the table via the stripe.

    • kingbeason52 - May 30, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Dwight has been in the league 4 more years than Hibbert..So your point is not very useful

  9. lunasceiling - May 30, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Dwight has more potential to contribute to a team, without a doubt. But how often does he actually play up to that potential? How much of Howard’s (potentially) superior play is offset by the drama he brings to a team? Moreover, Hibbert can actually be left in the game at crunch time because he can make his free throws.

    Bottom line: Hibbert is playing basketball this week. Howard is playing golf.

    • money2long - May 30, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      nicely put. but i don’t think that should be your bottom line. the discussion really is who is better. how deep one goes in the playoffs is not always a direct correlation of talent. if that were the case, let’s go ahead and say between paul george and durant, george is the better small forward. durant’s helping with relief efforts down in OKC so he might not exactly be playing golf, but he sure isn’t playing basketball either like dwight.

      • lunasceiling - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        Okay, that’s a very fair point. The real subject here is indeed which is the better player…and I can’t argue with SVG or anyone else who says that Howard comes out on top. He is. However, I don’t think the gap is so great that I wouldn’t pick Hibbert if I were a GM with that choice. Hibbert’s not the better player, but he seems to be the better teammate.

  10. truthbetoldforsure - May 30, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Howard command double teams in every game whereas Hibbert is playing 1-on-1 with smaller Heat lineup. Dwight is more agile. Hibbert is slow laterally and slow moving on the defense. I agree with Vogel to make Hibbert sit during crucial period because he is slow. Hibbert have played a great stretch of 4 games but he cannot consistently do that against bigger centers as his season average suggests. Howard will have a longer career whereas Hibbert have a career of less than 10 years as he will be more prone to injury. As we all saw in game three Hibbert have to leave the game because he probably injured himself.

  11. chargerdillon - May 30, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    The same guy he’s supporting is the same guy THAT GOT HIM FIRED.

    As a Laker fan, I would trade Kobe, Dwight, and Nash for Hibbert.

    The one thing Hibbert isnt, is a wishy washy mentally weak basketball player. Hibbert hasn’t created drama with several franchises over his ability to be loyal either.

    Dwight Howard brought one thing with him to Los Angeles. It’s called ATNA. All talk No action

    • money2long - May 30, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      not only would you trade nash and dwight for hibbert..but you’d throw in the mamba as well ? if you don’t issue a retraction, laker nation will revoke your fan card. disgraceful !!

  12. jaerba - May 30, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    To be fair, neither Howard nor Hibbert have really played to their potential for long stretches of time.

    If Hibbert can consistently play like he is against the Heat, then I’d probably consider him the best big man in the league. He’s not a better rebounder and dunker, but he is a smarter defender and has a much more well refined offensive game. That said, he’s never had a season where he’s played like he is right now, and it’s unfair to judge either player for a stretch of 4 games.

    His March and April (after the hand injury) were good, but he’s going to need to put up a full season like this. That would be better than what Howard is doing so far but I’m with SVG that he’s not consistent enough yet.

  13. thenew013 - May 30, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    yeah…hibbert is not touching
    dwight. i like hibbert and i think he is a beast but the point brought up about miamis small lineup is a good one and his offensive game isnt close to what howard can do and has done. howards defense is just as good as hibberts and his rebounding is better.

  14. patfic15 - May 30, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    We will never know due to the fact that Howard is so intent on being unlikable. I keep Hibbert 9/10 times just so I don’t get the drama that follows the queen that is D12.

  15. kleong1011 - May 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Most of the people posting here talks about maturity issues but this is so stupid.

    Dwight Howard was the most hated NBA player two years ago. He was actually loved and most of you, if not all of you would of wanted him on your team. He wasn’t seen as immature. What changed? The fact that he keeps changing his mind? Well you can blame the media for that. Only the media is constantly putting up rumors of where he wants to go or what he’s thinking when he’s brushing his teeth. Let’s face it, if you were in his shoes you wouldn’t be certain neither. You would want the best chance at winning a championship and you would want to make the most money you can. A lot of you are nitpicking, but a lot of you also aren’t very mature yourselves, just listing to you pathetic jokes and accusations. None of you sound mature yourself.

    Additionally, you all make it sound like Roy Hibbert is mature but hello, people also didn’t think Dwight was immature 4 years ago. People also didn’t think Derrick Rose was a quitter and Lebron was completely arrogant. Time changes perception and some of you make it seem like Roy Hibbert is a model example of what a human should be, let me tell you it isn’t Roy Hibbert. You don’t know what happens in 4 years so don’t make statements like he’s the most mature guy. He could end up demanding a trade or end up bringing a gun to the locker room. Bottom line, we don’t know anything about Hibbert. What we do know is Howard can lead a team to the finals as the best player but Hibbert hasn’t and unlikely to do so.

  16. sportsnut101 - May 30, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    D12 hands down but if u like a team player who will listen n do what is needed for the team. Then hibbert

  17. iowahbr - May 30, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    I must have missed Howard’s offensive game this year but so did everyone in the NBA. great skills but no ability to use them in the right manner. Stan must have forgotten all the fun times in Orlando.

  18. watermelon1 - May 30, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    As long as the NBA allows this ridiculous off-ball fouling crap, NOBODY should want Dwight Howard over Hibbert.

    And if you need a low post offensive presence… It’s Hibbert all day.

    The only team that might prefer Howard is one with really good perimeter players like Miami.

    Just let Howard run around and get alley oops and rebounds. And be a defensive presence in the paint.

    There’s no contest who the better all-around player is though. And as the current nba rules are, it’s no contest which player is just too much of an Achilles heel.

  19. dudermcrbohan - May 30, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    as far as talent, yea Howard is better. I would take Hibbert on my team though.

    I remember Kendrick Perkins used to shut Howard down…Kendrick Perkins. Dwight has all the talent in the world, but he doesn’t have the heart, and often times heart can take you further than your talent alone can.

  20. gmsingh - Jun 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Van Gundy is right: HIbbert probably couldn’t even get a coach kicked off a team if he tried. What we need is a contest of wills between Howard and Chris Paul for that!

  21. jagsfan13 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    As a Pacer fan, the heart tends to lean towards Hibbert. But the mind says Howard. Someone made mention that Howard is a more dominant presence down low. I have to disagree there. Hibbert may not have the best blocking ability but his presence down low forces opponents to rethink thier post up game.
    Howard’s wishy washy but you have to give the man credit, he’s a beast. Give Hibbert 4 more years (The length of time Howards been in the league longer) and you might be able to say Roy’s the better player then.
    Hibbert may be playing a smaller front line in Miami now but according to Spol, they’re double teaming him more which Hibbert dismisses with his left handed hook shot. Bosh down low can’t stop him. The best game the Heat have had so far is game 3 (?) with LeBron playing post. Don’t even mention Birdman, He’s a frigging joke.

    Oh and btw, why hasn’t Duncan been mentioned in this debate?

    I guess on ability alone I’d have to pick Howard. But given all the other factors, I’d take Hibbert. yeah, I’m wishy washy too, lol.

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