Roy Hibbert's Sudden Stupidity Has Overshadowed His Incredible On Court Impact

As the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers get set to battle in a rather unexpected Game 7, one of the breakout players of this Eastern Conference Finals (for both negative and positive reasons) has been Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Hibbert, of course, has found his way into the national news cycle for his downright stupid and incredibly inappropriate comments, during the postgame press conference that followed Indy's Game 6 victory. Hibbert was fined $75,000 for voicing a homophobic phrase and an unrelated expletive, all within the span of a couple pretty eventful moments in the big man's life. The 26-year-old has since apologized for his actions, while insisting that he meant no harm during the now regrettable diatribe.

On the court, Hibbert has been the series' undisputed driving force, particularly on the defensive side of the floor. The Georgetown alum's 7-2, 280 lbs. frame has protected the paint in a way that has completely changed the manner in which the defending champion Heat run their offense. Hibbert's dominating presence has forced Chris Bosh (6-11, 235 lbs.) away from the basket, causing his scoring and rebounding production to slide by five points and three rebounds respectively, as compared to his regular season averages.

Hibbert's stature inside has also significantly impacted the cutting and slashing abilities of superstar guard Dwyane Wade. The 6-4 scorer has seen his scoring average drop by a whopping seven points, when accessing the two-time NBA champion's numbers, relative to that of his regular season stat line.

Even league MVP LeBron James' game has been impacted by the mountain in the middle, otherwise known as Roy Hibbert. While LBJ's scoring average is up from the regular season, both his rebounding and assist levels are down, with the world's best player averaging an impactful two less assists per contests.

The above statistical breakdowns represent a clear deviation of approach for the Heat's “Big Three.” Simply put, Hibbert's dominance has forced the champs to curtail their desire to drive and dish, while also preventing the squad's most skilled big man (Bosh) from doing any type of damage inside.

While defense has been Hibbert's calling card this series, fans must also recognize how the fifth-year center has stepped up his offensive game. After averaging 11.9 PPG and 8.3 RPG, during the regular season, the former first round pick has tallied 22.8 PPG and 10.8 RPG, through the first six games of this series. The only number that has gone down is his blocks total, but frankly, this situation has far more to do with the Heat's issues when attempting to get to the bucket.

Last offseason, Indy matched the Portland Trail Blazers four-year/$58 million offer seat for Hibbert. With the team now standing a mere 48 minutes from the NBA Finals, it very much appears as if the Pacers decision to stick with Hibbert has proved to be money very well spent.