Nice comments here about Hibbert's teammates, and about the NBA refs!
Playing time rises for Pacers' Hibbert
Stay out of foul trouble, then stay on the floor
By Mike Wells
Posted: March 23, 2010
Dealing with Roy Hibbert's foul trouble was a given last season for the Indiana Pacers. It was a constant problem for the rookie center.Hibbert averaged more than three fouls in just 14 minutes a game last season. His constant foul problems kept him saddled to the bench most of his rookie season, stunting his development.
Hibbert hasn't had the same problem this season, and it's paying off on both ends of the court.
He again is averaging more than three fouls, but he is able to play nearly 25 minutes a game.
"I was trying to work on my fouling all summer, but unfortunately it's taken me this long to get the hang of it," Hibbert said. "I just have to keep learning."
The biggest thing Hibbert had to learn was to not swat at every shot, which happened a lot when he slid over to help out. He learned he could have just as much impact by jumping with his arms straight up, taking full advantage of his 7-2 frame.
Hibbert's teammates try to help by approaching the officials and asking what he can do to avoid being whistled for a foul.
"The league has really good refs and they talk to you and try to explain things to you," Hibbert said. "They tell me to go straight up, don't jump toward them. Most teammates don't even care. My teammates care about me and I appreciate that."
How dramatic has the change been? Last season, it seemed every questionable call went against Hibbert. This season, opposing coaches and players sometimes complain that a foul isn't called against him.
Hibbert has fouled out just four times in 70 games this season. He has had five or six fouls just four times in the past 22 games.
"He's doing a very good job of keeping his nose between the ball and the basket," coach Jim O'Brien said. "I think the officials across the league have done a real good job at calling the verticality rule as well.
"I think they're doing a good job of not bailing the drivers out. As a result, that has helped Roy's guts to step in front of people."
Hibbert's ability to stay out of foul trouble has helped his offense. He played a career-high 43 minutes against Detroit last week. He has scored at least 20 points in four of the past eight games.
"I want to be the aggressor going up there, changing shots, blocking shots, and when I'm on offense, going to the basket strong," he said. "Even if I do miss around the paint, hopefully I put pressure on other teams to collapse on me. Like I said, I'm a giver. I'll kick it out to open guys."
The longer he's on the court, the more likely the Pacers will make him a focal point.
"He would get the ball under the basket earlier in the year and throw up a shot," point guard Earl Watson said. "Now if he gets the ball out of position under the basket, you see him take power dribbles. To see him take a power dribble and still finish is amazing growth because he did it all within the same season."