The Indiana Pacers had grown tired of Roy Hibbert and his ongoing struggles, and sent him packing this summer.
The big fella says part of the reason the Los Angeles Lakers were such an attractive destination, is head coach Byron Scott.
Hibbert has re-dedicated himself to fitness and defensive domination, and yearns to play for a coach with intimate knowledge of what it’s like to hoop in the L.
You know the NBA is going toward small ball. So how do you not only stay on the court, but remain in a position where you can be a dominant player like you were a couple of years ago? […] RH: “I’m just going to focus on the defense. I know I said it before, but it’s important to realize I can possibly change the game. When I met with Mitch [Kupchak] and Scott, we came together and we talked about the expectations and what they wanted from me and how I could affect the game. We had a real good talk. I told them, I want to be like that [Andrew] Bogut-type guy, the defensive guy, because we have a lot of guys who can score already on this team. I’m at the point where I want to win a championship, and getting to play with Kobe, it’s an amazing opportunity for me. I wanted to play with a shooting guard or a small forward like Paul [George], who was athletic and can take over games offensively. And I wanted to play for a coach who actually played in the league if I had my own choice. Not to say that Frank [Vogel] wasn’t great. I had some real good times with Frank and we played well. But I told my agent that I possibly wanted to play for a coach that played in the league.”
Why is that important to you? […] RH: “Just playing for [Brian] Shaw (the Pacers’ former associate head coach under Vogel), he went through the things that a player has gone through. He had a lot of real good insight to help myself, my game, with other guys on the court. Because he went through those things. And when you had two sets of four games in five nights, he was real with us. He would say, ‘if I’m tired, you’re tired.’ It’s not a huge thing, but I’m really lucky to be in this position.”
I’m sure, working out with Kareem over the last couple of years, you know the history of the Lakers’ big men. Is it empowering or terrifying to be the next in that long line? […] RH: “I’m going to be realistic. I’ve made promises before and sometimes they didn’t pan out. So I’m going to be optimistic. I’m going to work hard and I’m going to try to make sure I’m a success. I didn’t always play up to my capabilities before. I look forward to a fresh start and be able to change what people think of me.”