Veteran center Roy Hibbert had a rough year in his last season with the Indiana Pacers. The team was torn apart by injuries with star forward Paul George going down before the season began and Hibbert struggled to play up to his potential.
Ultimately, the Pacers decided to go in a different direction this summer and traded Hibbert to the Los Angeles Lakers for nothing more than a second-round draft pick in 2019.
It was somewhat of an ugly divorce with the Pacers for Hibbert and now the two-time NBA All-Star appears determined to prove his worth with a fresh start in Los Angeles. Hibbert has already embraced his new surroundings, changed his diet and lost 16 pounds, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Roy Hibbert changed his diet and told me he dropped 16 pounds from his playing weight last season, down from 283 to currently 267.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) July 22, 2015
With the Lakers sporting a revamped roster of young players and veterans, Hibbert will have an opportunity to prove he’s still an All-Star caliber talent. The 28-year-old will be the starting center right out of the gate for Los Angeles and should instantly improve the team defensively.
In 76 games with the Pacers last season, Hibbert averaged 10.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor. The veteran center was impressive from the free-throw line with a career-high 82.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Although not a great rebounder nor incredibly efficient from the floor for a center, Hibbert is still a considerably upgrade in the paint for the Lakers. If he can return to All-Star form next season, Hibbert will be a steal for Los Angeles and potentially the team’s center for many years to come.