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Roy Hibbert has bulked up to be more of a physical presence

Aug 27, 2013, 9:26 PM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Seven Getty Images

Roy Hibbert’s size and physicality in the paint was a key reason the Pacers came within a game of the NBA Finals — for all the things LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can figure out, Hibbert protecting the rim isn’t one of them.

So next year Hibbert is coming back bigger and stronger.

Hibbert,at 7’2″ with a ridiculous wingspan and pushing three bills already, has been working out and getting bigger. We’ve seen that in some photos of Hibbert floating around the Web this summer, and now we have confirmation from Pacers coach Frank Vogel, doing a radio interview in Indianapolis, as transcribed at Pacers.com.

“I think he’s got some photographers from Men’s Fitness on there doctoring them up or something because he looks pretty big in those pictures, doesn’t he? Naw, I’m just kidding. I saw him yesterday in my office. He’s really bulking up and really excited about just being even more of a physical presence, especially on the offensive end — really pounding defenders down low and playing our identify of smash-mouth basketball.”

Hibbert taking on more of an offensive role, plus the return of Danny Granger and a deeper bench that includes Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson makes the Pacers one dangerous team next season. (Remember their bench hurt them in the playoffs last season, now they have upgraded.)

But it all comes back to a few key things (like Paul George and Granger melding) and one of those is Hibbert. If he is stronger, more physical and a complete beast in the paint the Pacers have a legitimate shot at knocking off Miami next season in the playoffs.

  1. money2long - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    let him bulk up. he can’t get any slower.

    • kb2408 - Aug 27, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      Yeah, last time I checked, playoffs basketball is half-court basketball. He might be slow but someone on the opposing teams are going to have to guard him.

      • money2long - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:53 AM

        yeah, it’s definitely not all about speed. i was poking fun. he’s a good player. but one i don’t trust on a nightly basis. i believe tony kornheiser said it best when he said, we could all agree hibbert would have a tough time beating a kitchen refrigerator in a race. but hey, he’s focused on being a contributor on a contender. i just don’t hold him in as high of a regard as most because of the many, many nights he will get single digit rebounds and single digit points. for being one of the focal points on the team and for someone who claimed to be the best C in the league, those nights take him down some notches in my eyes. i can bet he will have at least 15+ games this season where he gets under 10 and 10 on the same night. but hey, good player, all star player. i just don’t hold him in the same place as most.

        but i was simply poking fun at his lack of foot speed.

    • jusdre313 - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      dude that wont mean anything once the playoffs start.. his speed wasnt an issue when he was spanking NYK and killing MIA in the middle.. im not even a pacers fan but i think hibbert is going to a PROBLEM next season. This summer he seems so dedicated at taking his game to the next level. he knows at 7’2 if he gets his body and game right there is NO big man in the league that can stop him

      • kinggw - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        Actually there are quite a few big men that can and have stopped Hibbert. He only had one dominant series in the playoffs and his team lost. He got outplayed by Horford in the 1st round and he didnt really spank the Knicks. He had two great games, two ok games, and two poor games. He can be defended, just not by two guys in Miami who he has by 3 inches and about 70 pounds.

        He killed the Heat. So did Vucevic. I know lots of people want the Pacers to beat the Heat, that doesn’t make Hibbert an elite center. He’s not the best center in the game, or the East, there is a good chance he’s the third or fourth best center in his own division behind Noah, Sanders and Bynum if he’s healthy. If Drummond takes the next step he could be the worst starting center in the Central, and that’s not a slight. Hibbert is a funny guy, says the right things and its easy to root for him. That being said, him bulking up doesnt make him the new Shaq. He’s just a good center on a good team.

      • deywalka - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        @kinggw– Actually you’re mistaken on that. The “big men” you claim stopped Hibbert did not in fact stop him. Hibbert had an injured wrist on his shooting hand that didn’t healthy until the latter part of the season. Once his wrist healed completely he was a beast on the offensive and that’s why you saw him explode in the playoffs. BTW your assumption that Hibbert isn’t the best center in the East is comical, especially with you suggesting that Noah, Sanders and Bynum are better. Hibbert is second to Duncan ONLY. Only BS like the fodder you just spit comes from ignorant Heat fans. I’ll bet the Heat jersey you have still has the price tag from Walmart on it. You can hate all you want on the Pacers but the Heat are done this year. Wade’s balky knees won’t allow him to play the way he used to anymore and even if he could the Pacers have much better bench with Granger coming back as well.

  2. mitchication - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Gonna need a bigger behind-the-backboard camera.

  3. rotaylla - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Let him buckle up as much he could so that he can much more SLOWER to get back in Transitional DEFENCE against opponents. This is a basketball game not a sumo wrestling or an NFL Game. No matter what Pacers are gonna be owned again by the Brooklyn Nets…Lol.

    • deywalka - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      You really should say no to drugs. Don’t go jump off the NJ turnpike after the Nets get spanked again by the Pacers.

  4. legend30 - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Don’t care what people say, but Brian Shaw is gonna be a HUGE subtraction to this team. Brian Shaw leaves L.A. look what happened to them, just saying. George Hill always have high praises for Shaw for keeping the team composure under control. Expecting over 15 dislikes!

    – legend

    • youngindy21 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      You idiot. Brian Shaw left the LA Lakers the same time Phil Jackson left/retired. Of course, the Lakers are not gonna be good after getting rid of a HOF Coach that has won 11 championships. Just saying try to make some type of sense next time you comment.

      • legend30 - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        You mad? Typical Pacers fans.

  5. kb2408 - Aug 27, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Indy is coming out of the East. They are big, physical, young, well coached, deep and will be extremely motivated next season.They have all the ingredients of a championship team. Barring injury, I predict they face the Spurs in the Finals next season. All thumbs up, please. Thanks…

  6. elcapitanfiscal - Aug 27, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    If Granger can provide some efficient scoring, they will have a great chance to beat the heat..

    They know defense wins chsmpionships, but need just a tiny bit more offense

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      I really thought it was turnovers. Regardless, Indy is an easy team to root for.

    • kinggw - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:39 AM

      They’ve had two great chances to beat the Heat the past two years. In 2012, they had a full squad, Bosh was out and Wade was on one knee. Last year Wade was again on one leg and they still couldn’t get it done.

      Considering the Heat have gotten better every year the big 3 has been together, I don’t see how the Pacers unseat them, unless they sustain a major injury for the third consecutive year.

      • bougin89 - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        I get what you’re saying about the Heat’s health, and it is valid but George and Hibbert are just coming into their prime where as the Heat were/are in their prime. Last year the Pacers didn’t have Granger and at times their offense got stagnant. It looked like they could have used him, so it’s not as if they were without a major injury either. Ideally both teams will be healthy when they matchup.

      • youngindy21 - Aug 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        In 2012, Paul George was just a sophomore. In 2012, it was also David West and Ian Mahinmi’s first year with the team. Granger was also injured in 2012. In 2013, the Pacers were completely without Danny Granger. That doesn’t sound like 2 great chances.

  7. khadeemw - Aug 28, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    All I’m saying is injuries. You do not want a bulky 7 footer anymore. I wouldnt be surprised if back and foot injuries follow. Yao Ming became more injury prone when he put on weight and Shaq became more injury prone when he put on weight. Sometimes you have to sacrifice strength in order to maintain your natural playing weight and stay healthy.

    • bougin89 - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Shaq didn’t exactly put on “good” weight.

  8. mickdamill - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    People are acting like he is putting on pounds of fat rather than muscle, watch as the season progresses and he will lean out from running. You dont have to be lightning quick in order to be an effective big man in the league. It’s always nice to see players putting in work in the offseason to give them an edge against there opponents.

  9. imakcds - Aug 29, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    I really liked what I saw of Hibbert in the post season, a TRUE center, so rare nowadays. I’s say he’s really elevated his status around the league, next contract will be Max.

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