May 7, 2014, 9:07 PM EDT
As Roy Hibbert continues to struggle mightily for the Pacers in the playoffs, the masses seem desperate for a legitimate explanation as to why, exactly, his play has been so dismal.
There are some crazy stories out there if you look hard enough, but none of them are from credible sources. And Hibbert’s teammates continue to say that everything is just fine in their locker room, despite the slide Indiana has experienced for more than two straight months.
Andrew Bynum is no longer with the team, having come to a mutual agreement with management to end the partnership that was aimed at adding depth to the roster for the postseason run. While it’s difficult to believe his sheer presence was an issue, the signing reportedly bothered Hibbert, at least initially.
Center Roy Hibbert‘s ongoing tailspin coincides with Bynum’s arrival, so much that some team insiders have wondered if the move rattled Hibbert’s confidence and trust.
Through Jan. 31, Hibbert was posting his customary numbers – 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks per game – for a team that was 35-10. After Bynum was signed, Hibbert averaged 9.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. He’s been worse in Indiana’s eight playoff games so far: 4.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks. And the Pacers have gone 25-20.
Bringing Bynum aboard rankled Hibbert, a source told NBA.com, when coach Frank Vogel ran plays to get Bynum involved offensively that he rarely calls for Hibbert.
Bynum hasn’t been around the team for the past few games, and it’s doubtful that his arrival alone sent Hibbert into such a noticeable nosedive, especially when it continued long after it became known that Bynum wouldn’t be able to contribute at all for the Pacers due to his ongoing injury.
The reality is that only Hibbert knows the true reason for his dip in production. But considering that he came alive in the first half of Game 2 against the Wizards by pouring in 17 points in 15 minutes on the day Bynum was officially gone for good, there may be more to it than would seem to make sense.
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