ESPN’s Kevin Pelton: The Pacers’ defense will take another step forward after back surgery
Posted On August 9, 2021
A couple weeks ago, the Pacers were hoping to build off their two-game winning streak and clinch a playoff spot.
The team was hoping to play better defense and improve their rebounding, but injuries and an inability to stay healthy kept them from achieving those goals.
And then on Monday, the team announced that All-Star center Roy Hibbert had surgery to repair his hip, which he had sustained during a road game against the Boston Celtics.
The Pacers have been trying to make a run at the playoffs for a couple of weeks now, but a major injury to one of their most valuable players means they’re unlikely to be anywhere near that goal anytime soon.
“I’ve never been a big defender,” Hibbert said, per ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe.
“But the last two years, I’ve been a really good one.
I think my game has improved a lot.
But, at the same time, I think I have to be a better one.
That’s my game.”
Hibbert also admitted that he’s been able to adapt to the change of pace he’s had to go through, but he said that the Pacers’ defensive problems aren’t as bad as they were last year.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m better defensively now,” Hibber said.
“No, I’m not.”
Hibber also addressed a number of other topics on Tuesday, including the possibility of him returning to the Pacers next season, and whether or not the Pacers will be able to land a new owner.
“That’s something I’ll have to talk to the owners about,” Hibbers said.
Hibbert will be 34 years old by the time the season ends, but the Pacers have an opportunity to re-sign him next summer.
After this season, he will have two years left on his contract, and he could have a deal in place to keep him in Indiana.