May 24, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) reacts during a game against the Miami Heat in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Hibbert is the Indiana Pacers' 'X-factor'

The Indiana Pacers pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals and many believed with another year of development the Pacers may finally be able to take down the Heat in 2014. That looked like that may be the case for awhile but the Pacers began to fall apart late in the season. Although they were still able to take down the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, the Heat took care of them in six games.

Since then, things have only gotten worse. They lost guard Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets and forward Paul George to a leg fracture that will likely cost him the season.

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders believes center Roy Hibbert’s play will decide whether or not the Pacers get back to the playoffs.

That’s a great question. I was actually planning to write an article about this. I think Indiana will be much worse next season after losing George and Stephenson, their top two players last season. Their offense was already bad, but now it’s going to be even worse. Their defense will take a hit as well. The East has improved so it’s not like the Pacers will just walk into the playoffs. I think they’ll be one of several teams competing for the eighth seed. Roy Hibbert is a huge X-Factor here, obviously, but a lineup of George Hill, Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles, David West and Hibbert may not be good enough to make the postseason.

Last season, Hibbert averaged 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 43.9% from the field, 40.0% from beyond the arc and 77.0% from the free throw line. Over his career, he’s put up 11.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 assists per game while shooting 4.7% from the floor, 30.0% from three and 73.7% from the charity stripe.

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Tags: Indiana Pacers Roy Hibbert

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