Some notes on the video above.
- Stats: Hibbert is using every bit of his 7-2, 280 pound frame to grab 21 percent of the Pacers’ misses when he’s on the court. Hibbert converted 14 of those for putback layups, tack on six extra points for fouls and and-1s. The Heat (read: LeBron James) managed to strip or block him five times after he got the offensive rebound.
- Guarding Hibbert looks absolutely miserable. Again, he’s MASSIVE, even by NBA standards. And now that he’s deadlifting around 600 pounds, he’s also much more difficult to move than he used to be. It’s difficult to overstate the impact of Hibbert’s improved fitness. Last season, the Hibbert gave the Heat problems, but he could only sustain his effort for 32 minutes per game. He would lag getting up and down the court and go stretches without impacting the game. Not so, this year. Watch how many of these offensive rebounds come from sprinting the floor and beating many of his teammates, and the Heat big men, down court.
- And because he’s so strong, sometimes he’ll just toss the defender out of the way, like he does with Bosh on rebound 25. Remember, the difference in size between Bosh and Hibbert is roughly the same as that between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Hibbert spends a lot of time near the basket in the Pacers offense and is now so strong that once he has his roots down in the paint, no one can wrench him free. Heat bigs will dutifully try to box him out and find themselves directly under the rim, rather than backing out into the paint.
- A handful of these rebounds are just a result of Hibbert being way bigger than everyone around him, but the Heat big men are also guilty of leaving him to contest other Pacers’ shots when they probably don’t need to. Birdman is the worst offender here, but Haslem and Bosh also have an instinct to swarm the ball. This is part of why the Heat gave up so many offensive rebounds all season, but it’s particularly damning against a player like Hibbert who is so laser focused on pushing his way to the ball. The Heat may be able to limit Hibbert a little more if they are more judicious about when they leave him to challenge a driving Pacer.
- Coaches should show this video of Hibbert to young bigs as an example of what happens when you follow your shot. When Heat players challenge Hibbert’s shot, they often leap to contest the shot then turn to see where the ball went, but by the time Hibbert has let the ball go, he’s back on the ground and bulldozing his way to the rim, looking for a put-back. For most people, not jumping very high isn’t a good basketball strategy, but it seems to work out pretty well for Hibbert. His single-mindedness is amazing, and the Heat big men have not been able to match it defensively.
- The Heat front Hibbert a lot, which can have the effect of stalling out Indiana’s offense, but also puts their bigs in a tough spot when it comes to recovering into excellent rebounding position. Even when they can get back between Hibbert and the rim, they are usually pushed closer to the basket than they would like, or not quite in the right spot.
What do you see? Put it in the comments!