Charlotte Hornets: Roy Hibbert is a Shell of His Former Self

When the Charlotte Hornets signed Roy Hibbert, they hoped he could revitalize his career with the team but that is becoming less and less likely.

The Charlotte Hornets took a chance on Roy Hibbert and so far it has not paid off. He is a shell of his former self and his recent play as the starting center with Cody Zeller out has proven that he is useless in some aspects while on the court. The team must cut their losses and try to move on from their failed experiment.

It was just a few years ago in the 2013-14 season when Hibbert was an all-star, an elite rim protector, and one of the best big men in the NBA. The 7’2 center fell fast and he hasn’t been able to recover the form that once made him a great player. He is now struggling against other big men and giving the Hornets few positives while out on the floor.

While a concussion is keeping Zeller out, Roy has filled in at the starting five spot for three games so far. In those three games, he is only averaging 5.6 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game, and 1.6 blocks per game. These poor numbers are all while playing 20.6 minutes per game. That’s not good enough for a backup, let alone a starter.

Despite those low stats, Steve Clifford will probably keep him in the starting unit until Cody Zeller returns. Thankfully, Spencer Hawes has stepped up off the bench so the negative effect that Hibbert is having is lessened. Still, the obvious choice for the organization seems to be to move on from Roy and use Spencer as the backup center for the remainder of the season.

Hawes has been a more consistent player on both ends of the court this year and while he doesn’t bring some of the things that Hibbert does, Roy just can’t find his footing. Hibbert is known fo being a great defender and rebounder but when he can’t even do those things well, then what is he bringing to the team while getting minutes? The answer is nothing.

He has only scored in double figures four times this season and a nagging knee injury (swelling) has plagued him for a majority of the year. That could be the main reason why he is struggling but whatever the reason is, he is not playing at the level of a starting, or even a backup, center.

Just look at Hibbert’s number compared to Hawes’ this season:

Hibbert: 16.1 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.2 BPG, 50% FG/ 77.4% FT
Hawes: 16.9 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.7 BPG, 47.2% FG/ 84% FT

Spencer may receive more minutes on average but when every big man is healthy, Roy gets the backup center minutes while Hawes sits on the bench. It is clear that this season, Hawes is more consistent and doing everything better than Hibbert. Roy can’t box out and rebound opposing big men and he can’t defend at a high level. Might as well play Spencer and use his shooting, ability to spread the floor, and offensive game to the team’s advantage.

While Roy Hibbert may be good in short bursts with flashes of his former self, the Charlotte Hornets shouldn’t waste any more time on him. Steve Clifford should make the move to Hawes as the backup center and if it helps the team, Rich Cho should look to package Roy in a trade before the deadline. He has been useless both as a starter and off the bench this season. Spencer is more deserving of playing time.

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