Normally, I wait to do draft prospect profiles until when we get closer to draft day, but since there's been a ton of discussion about Roy Hibbert, I'm doing this one early. -PM
It seems our community is divided over this local product. Some say he's a perfect fit , others say he's a big stiff. The connection is obvious. Besides being a local guy, he played in a form of the Princeton offense at Georgetown. Add that to the 7'2'' frame, and the intrigue is understandable.
Truthfully, there's a lot to like about Hibbert. Popular opinion of him has lessened because his 2007/08 season was worse than his 2006/07 one, but he still was pretty solid. He still had a 31.1 PER, which was good for 16th in the nation. His effective field goal percentage in 2006/07 was an insane 67 percent, but it was still a robust 61 percent in 2007/08. Likewise, his true shooting percentage was down from his 2006/07 year, but was still at 63 percent. No matter how you slice it, he was an incredibly efficient scorer, which bodes well considering he probably won't get too many shots here.
But what makes Hibbert particularly intriguing is his passing. Assists are not the best measure of one's passing proficiency, but it still is impressive that only starting guards Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp had higher assist ratios than Hibbert last year. Granted, it helps that Georgetown, as a team, had one of the highest assist ratios in the country, but Hibbert's ability to see the floor has to be a key factor for that.
What might be more impressive, however, is that Hibbert had the lowest turnover percentage on the team. He turned it over on just 15.6 percent of Georgetown's possessions, which doesn't seem so impressive, but it was still good enough to rank in the top 20 in the Big East last year.
It is interesting to note that Hibbert's efficiency decreased as his usage increased. This season, he used 17.4 percent of his team's possessions, up from 16 percent in 2006/07. That probably has a lot to do with the loss of Jeff Green, but it's definitely concerning to see Hibbert struggle when he received more shots. I always felt Green was really underrated, because he had a knack for getting Hibbert the ball in the right spots. Without his set-up man, Hibbert wasn't quite as effective.
Still, you have to like that he's a high efficiency player that can pass and doesn't turn the ball over very much. In that way, he fits in perfectly.
What's the problem? There are two criticisms of Hibbert that I think are fairly valid. The first is that he's not much of a rebounder. Some of you have cited his inability to grab double-digit rebounds in most of his games this season, which is unfair because not only does Georgetown play at an incredibly slow pace, but Hibbert himself only plays 26 minutes a game (we'll get to this in a second). Looking at his rebounding per-minute numbers, and he actually stacks up pretty well.
The problem is that Hibbert's exactly the type of player who will struggle to grab rebounds in the pros. And this takes me to the second problem. To put it bluntly, Hibbert is slow and unathletic. It's not so easy to quantify this, but I don't think it's an accident that Georgetown has played at a really slow pace in each of his three seasons. Sure, John Thompson III is notorious for running a deliberate Princeton offense, but part of that was because it suited Hibbert's strengths. Just check out his weaknesses on his NBADraft.net card.
Limited athletically: Lacks quickness, speed in the open floor, and explosiveness ... Has trouble against big and athletic centers, must work on ball fakes and becoming less predictable offensively ... Runs very stiff, slow transitioning from half to full court ... Has decent shot blocking skills due to his size, but lacks great quickness and reflexes vertically ...
Now, granted, this all reeks of "your eyes can deceive you" analysis, but I think it translates in the fact that he only averages 26 minutes a game. Part of that is because he's really foul-prone, averaging 4.4 fouls per 40 minutes, but truthfully, that mark has been a lot worse (look at his fouls/40 in his freshman season). In reality, the dude just isn't in good enough shape to play more than 26 minutes a game. He's not going to play all that many minutes in the pros, but it's a completely different game athletically, and he needs work if he wants to keep up.
The verdict: If he's available at 18, I'd rather have him than any other big not named Kevin Love. But is he someone we should move up to get? No way, no way in hell. He has his strengths, but I see someone with very limited upside. He reminds me a lot of Brendan Haywood, actually, in that he has a reputation for being a bit soft. The difference is that Brendan is quite bulky, while Hibbert is just tall. Nice value at 18, but we shouldn't expect a difference-maker.