I’ve been an Indiana Pacers fan as long as I can remember. It was great during the Reggie Miller years, but after the ‘Malice at the Palace’, it became really difficult. Not only is your favorite team look at as ‘thugs’, but the years after it was just a mess.
After years of drafting ‘high character’ guys and signing ‘safe’ players, things finally turned around for the Pacers when they were lucky enough to draft Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Things didn’t work out with Lance in the long-term, but there was hope for George and Hibbert to be a part of the team for a long time.
Well, everything went bad in a hurry.
I’m here to tell you that even though Hibbert was a big part of the Pacers recent success, it’s okay to be happy he’s no longer on the team. It doesn’t make you a fair-weather fan.
Professional sports is big business. Yes, you get attached to players since they bring so much joy as a fan, but sometimes you just have to detach yourself, fast, like ripping off a band-aid.
Hibbert had some big moments, but let’s not forget his horrible play during the 2014 postseason. He just pouted that he wasn’t getting the ball much. Fingers were pointed at Lance Stephenson for all the chemistry issues, but Hibbert’s thin skin could have been the main issue.
The Pacers won’t get much in return in the Roy Hibbert trade (probably 2nd rounders and European guys that will never sniff the NBA), but their real return is cap space. They were able to sign Monta Ellis and re-sign Rodney Stuckey and LaVoy Allen.
Contrary to the picture David West painted of the franchise, the future is bright in Indiana. Paul George will be healthy and the new up-tempo pace fits more his style. I also believe first-round draft pick Myles Turner could turn out to be the steal of the draft. He has nice range and can space the floor.
I agree with Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel, the Hibbert trade is the biggest move the Pacers could have made this offseason. I believe it’s a bigger transaction than the Spurs signing of LaMarcus Aldridge. This trade will have a bigger overall impact. You’d be amazed how much a team can improve when you simply rid themselves of a player that didn’t want to be there.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.