The fumbled pass was a moment that seemed to sum up Hibbert’s last couple months. And while he has certainly struggled on the offensive end, the All-Star center’s lack of impact on the defensive end has been even more surprising.
Hibbert has virtually disappeared this postseason. He’s averaging 6.0 points per game and shooting 28 percent from the floor. That is a major dip from his postseason production last season (see chart).
Last 2 Postseasons
Things have gotten so bad that he has now gone three consecutive games without a block, matching the longest streak of his career (regular season or playoffs).
Hibbert cannot even buy a bucket from point blank range. During the postseason, he is 3-for-13 (23.1 percent) from the restricted area.
The Pacers allowed 2.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with Hibbert on the court this season. However, Hibbert has actually hurt his team on the defensive end during the playoffs. The Pacers are allowing 4.5 more points per 100 possessions with Hibbert on the court.
Hibbert was one of the better primary defenders during the regular season, allowing 0.79 points per play and holding opponents to about 38 percent shooting. Both were top-10 ranks among players with at least 550 plays.
In the playoffs, however, both numbers are up and Hibbert ranks in the bottom half of the 62 players with at least one defensive play as the primary defender.
Hibbert is allowing 0.92 points per play as the primary defender, and opponents are shooting 45 percent from the floor.
Is it time for Ian Mahinmi to get more time over Hibbert?
Pacers Centers as Primary Defenders
On the defensive end, it appears as if Mahinmi is the better option. During the postseason, the Pacers are allowing 95.3 points per 100 possessions with Mahinmi on the court, compared to 104.7 with him off the court.
Mahinmi has held opponents to 29.6 percent shooting this postseason, while Hibbert has allowed 52.6 percent shooting.
More specifically, Paul Millsap has owned Hibbert, going 7-11 with 21 points and no blocked attempts. Against Mahinmi, Millsap has shot 3-9 with seven points and two blocked attempts.