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Larry Bird wants Roy Hibbert to get a Hall of Fame mentor

Jun 3, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT

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Before the All-Star Game Roy Hibbert averaged 11.8 points a game on 46.4 percent shooting and he pulled down 7.7 rebounds a game. After the All-Star Game that fell to 8.9 points a game on 39 percent shooting and 4.7 rebounds a game. In the final six games of the regular season that had fallen all the way to 5.3 points a game on 23.5 percent shooting and 3.2 rebounds a game. Then in the playoffs he set a record for guy with the most 0/0 games who made the All-Star team that year.

Hibbert was less consistent than Katy Perry’s hair color.

To fix that, Larry Bird wants Hibbert to get a mentor — preferably a Hall of Fame mentor. Here is what Bird said in his end of season interview Monday, as transcribed by ESPN.

“Roy’s never asked us to go bring someone in,” Bird, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, said. “I always say big guys are different. I would encourage Roy to try to get with one of the greats. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the best teachers. Bill Walton is great. They know how to play the position as well as anyone ever has. I would encourage that.”

For the record, Hibbert has worked out with and befriended Tim Duncan, who is not yet a Hall of Famer only because he is still leading his team to the NBA Finals. Duncan’s consistency of effort and focus would be a good place for Hibbert to start.

While Hibbert, like every player, could use some improvement in technique, that’s not the real issue with the Pacers’ center. His is a matter of confidence, or toughness, or whatever mental attribute you wish to attribute it to. When engaged in games at the end of the season he could still impact a game dramatically at both ends, but he often took a mental holiday during games.

“When Roy loses his confidence, he struggles at times,” Bird said. “I hope he can come back strong. I hope he can do the things necessary to get better.”

The Pacers players have a lot of soul searching to do about this past season — it was a blown opportunity. They got away from what they do and who they were, and nobody embodied that more than Hibbert. He can be a game changer nightly, but even at 7’2” you have to work a little to grab a rebound.

Bird said not to expect dramatic roster shifts on the Pacers, they are going to have to do this internally. They have to learn from their mistakes and improve. Nobody more than Hibbert, and maybe a mentor can help with that.

  1. azarkhan - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I would have thought a psychiatrist was in order, but I defer to HOF Larry Bird’s judgement.

  2. jadaruler - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Didn’t he brag about working with Tim Duncan in the offseason. I gets it didn’t work.

    • gostlcards5 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      He was playing well early in the season. The problem is whatever caused him to mentally/emotionally/whatever check out in the second half and playoffs.

      • therealhtj - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        PG & his woman. Only thing fixing that is a change of scenery.

      • bball242322 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        therealhtj – u realize that’s completely false right? No man continues to be best friends/the biggest supporter of a dude that plowed his women. Nice try though on spreading these stupid rumors

  3. rrhoe - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Akeem Olajuwon!!!!!

  4. GT - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    When the legend talks, you better listen, Roy.

  5. alexb1234 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    – The pacers could use a new head coach
    – Bird believes Hibbert needs a mentor
    – Patrick Ewing should be their new head coach

    As a Knicks fan it kills me to even imagine Ewing coaching the Pacers but it would make a lot of sense.

    • gostlcards5 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      And as a Pacers fan, I hope he gets a chance to coach somewhere. He was the one Knick during the height of the rivalry that I loved to watch.

      • alexb1234 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        I also forgot to mention both Ewing and Hibbert are both former Hoyas, we all know how Georgetown big men like to stick together and help each other out.

    • dexterismyhero - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      We don’t want Ewing as our head coach.

    • bball242322 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Pacers absolutely don’t need a new coach. Frank is the reason the Pacers are where they are today – 4 years to build a team that continues to get back to the ECF’s. They just need 1 more year of the Heat to continue aging, and the Pacers youth to continue to develop to eventually overtake them as the champs

  6. gostlcards5 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Also, I think Roy needs strength conditioning. He’s really long, but it seemed like it was always easy to knock the ball out of his hands.

  7. cantonbound13 - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Andrew Bynum?

    • tegan3 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      Cancer. Plus they never should’ve traded Granger, he was the glue.

  8. mackcarrington - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Benoit Benjamin and Michael Olowokandi are available.

    • bigbamboom1 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      Jon Koncak can still be had too! LOL

  9. jkirby317 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Indiana should have had a HOF type teaching Roy from the beginning of his career. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that a long defensive-minded center may improve his offensive game with the help of Hakeem Olajuwon or Bill Walton.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:07 AM

      If Hakeem could help a forward – and he did help LeBron with his post game – he sure could help Roy. What I don’t get is why Roy needs his GM to be bringing up this kind of idea at his point – but I wish him well if he does seek to improve, even if it took a little goosing from upstairs. Trying to improve is commendable in any endeavor, and Roy seems to be a very decent fellow – and certainly talented.

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:07 AM

        *this point

      • jkirby317 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        The main problem with Roy is that he is TOO good of a guy. He needs to be mean and hate everyone. There are far too many nice guys on this Pacers squad.

  10. campcouch - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    Alonzo Mourning

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:52 AM

      might be hard to pry from the Heat

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