I was a terrible high school wrestler.

I was beaten by a girl in my first match.  I went 1-26 in my first season.  Early in my second year, I had lost my first ten matches.  During a tri-meet just before the Holidays, I was matched up against a kid that had finished runner-up in State the previous year.  As expected, he was destroying me, but was unable to put me on my back (a pin is worth six team points).  So, in the third period, he started trying for a Technical Fall (team is awarded five points if he gets up fifteen at any point in the match - it's basically a mercy rule).  He would take me down (earn two points), let me escape (I get one point), and then take me down again until the deficit reached fifteen.  It’s much more humiliating than getting pinned.

My frustration got the best of me, and on one of the takedowns, I bit the kid.  It’s totally illegal, but I bit him.  I was tired of getting knocked around.  I was angry, upset, and embarrassed… so I snapped.  Chaos ensued as the kid’s arm was bleeding, his coach and my coach got into a screaming match, and several members of his team had to be held back from going after me.  I was immediately disqualified and kicked out the rest of the meet. Surprisingly, in the locker room afterward, my teammates praised my completely illegal maneuver because it showed them that I actually gave a sh*t cared.  In my next match a few days later, I won for the first time all season.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not asking Roy Hibbert to bite Marcin Gortat or anyone on the Wizards.  However, after yet another playoff doughnut in last night’s Game 1 loss, we’re all asking:

Where is Roy Hibbert’s bite? 

Hibbert was comically awful in his double-zero performance, and the Washington frontcourt ate him up.  Gortat, Nene, and 84-year old Drew Gooden combined for 39 points and 34 rebounds in the win.  Against Atlanta, the Pacers were able to get away with Roy’s no-shows because Pero Antic was equally terrible.  In this series, that’s just not going to fly.  The Pacers aren’t going to beat the Wizards without their $54 million All-Star big man. Here is how bad Hibbert has been in the past month:

  OPP.   MIN    FG   PTS    REB 
 4/6 HAWKS    9    0-5     0   0
4/11 @Miami   34    2-7     5   1
4/13 THUNDER   27    0-9     0   6
4/16 @Orlando   17    1-7     4   7
4/19 HAWKS   30    4-9     8   8
4/22 HAWKS   24    1-7     6   4
4/24 @Atlanta   19    2-9     4   2
4/26 @Atlanta   25    3-5     6   3
4/28 HAWKS   12    0-2     0   2
 5/1 @Atlanta      12      0-1    0      0
 5/3 HAWKS       31   6-10   13    7
 5/5 WIZARDS      18    0-2    0   0

Those numbers average out to: 3.8 ppg (26% FG) and 3.3 rpg in 21.5 mpg. That's historically bad for an All-Star center.

This can’t just be a basketball thing.  NBA experts have thrown around the words “inexplicable” and “unprecedented” when speaking of Hibbert’s demise.  There’s no rhyme or reason as to why an All-Star would fall off a cliff like this, unless it’s mental.  There are rumors swirling about his personal life (a co-worker’s friend’s brother-in-law’s uncle might have told you about it!), and while I’m not going to try to substantiate any of those rumors, I’m convinced that something must be up.

Even if that’s the case, I wish Roy Hibbert would do something – anything – that showed us that being a league-wide laughingstock bothered him and he was going to fight back.

I'm not sure his teammates are convinced that he will, and they're losing patience.  Veterans David West and Rasual Butler reportedly had a heated private conversation with Hibbert after the game, and you could tell by West’s fiery postgame comments that he’s fed up with his frontcourt running mate.  Now that the Pacers are in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and three full weeks into Hibbert’s super-slump, they can’t afford to coddle him any longer (are you listening Frank Vogel?).   If Roy can’t score, can’t defend, and can’t rebound, then he can’t be on the floor.

Fans, media members, athletes, and celebrities were all taking a bite out of Indiana’s soft center on social media last night.  It’s time for Hibbert to bite back.

DS