Hibbert has been virtually invisible. He’s averaging 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in roughly 22 minutes per game. Even worse, the runner-up for the NBA’s defensive player of the year has only three blocks in five games and has become a major liability chasing 3-point shooters. Fans want coach Frank Vogel to bench the 7-foot-2 rim protector, especially after scoring no points and grabbing no rebounds in Monday night’s 107-97 loss.
“I’m not going to talk a lot about adjustments or lineup changes, potential lineup changes we could make,” Vogel said.
Hibbert said he hasn’t been told whether he’ll start Thursday night in Atlanta.
Team chemistry has been problematic, too.
After signing Andrew Bynum in early February and dealing longtime fixture Danny Granger to Philadelphia at the trade deadline, an effort to improve Indiana’s bench, the camaraderie started falling apart. Hibbert complained there were some “selfish dudes” in the locker room, a comment Vogel disagreed with and Hibbert later apologized for.
Vogel has repeatedly and openly prodded his players to share the ball and trust their passes.
Fans have complained about the body language on the court and on the bench, and there are growing questions regarding Vogel’s return next season if the Pacers are ousted this week. Things turned so bleak Monday, when Atlanta’s Mike Scott made four straight 3s during a 41-point second quarter, that even the usually unflappable Larry Bird cradled his head as he watched his team suffer.
A few hours later, George’s night got even worse when he returned home to find his $15,000 diamond-and-platinum All-Star ring and a $700 watch were stolen during the game, according to a police report.
“It’s being investigated now and that’s all I’ll say about it,” George said.