Why the Portland Trail Blazers could be off-center next season.

The Portland Trail Blazers continue their roller coaster of sane moves followed by crazy moves. The Portland Trail Blazers have offered Roy Hibbert a max contract for four years worth $58 million dollars. Indiana will be hard pressed to match. We should ask if Portland should be applauded for such a move and if Indiana should feel upset. The short answer is Portland has massively overpaid Hibbert and Indiana should let it go.

Hibbert is at best overpriced

Let’s use the NBA Geek to look over Roy Hibbert.

Here’s a breakdown of Hibbert’s Wins Produced by season (Wins per 48 in quotes)

  • 09′ -0.6 Wins Produced (-0.031 WP48)
  • 10′ 1.5 Wins Produced (0.035 WP48)
  • 11′ 1.0 Wins Produced (0.021 WP48)
  • 12′ 8.1* (0.161 WP48)
*8.1 is adjusted for an 82 game season. Hibbert earned 6.5 Wins last season.

Last season Hibbert had a breakout season. He earned an All-Star berth, the Pacers went far in the playoffs and he helped earn Larry Bird another meaningless award. There’s a problem though, it was a complete surprise.

Roy Hibbert’s per 48 minute stats season by season

Stat 09′ 10′ 11′ 12′
Blocks 3.6 3.1 3.0 3.2
Free Throw % 66.7% 75.4% 74.5% 71.1%
Free Throw Attempts 7.0 5.3 5.9 5.9
Assists 2.3 3.7 3.5 2.7
Defensive Rebounds 6.1 6.8 9.1 8.9
Offensive Rebounds 5.5 4.2 3.9 5.3
Personal Fouls 10.2 6.7 5.5 4.8
Turnovers 2.6 3.4 4.0 3.2
Steals 1.0 0.7 0.7 0.8
Effective Field Goal % 47.1% 49.7% 46.1% 49.7%
Field goal Attempts 20.0 18.4 19.0 16.6

There’s two aspects that probably sell Hibbert on the open market. He gets around 13 points and 9 rebounds a game. In fact, his points per game have improved every year. What we should notice is that on offense Hibbert is terrible. His shooting numbers are quite poor and he’s turnover prone. On defense he is quite good at blocks. although he’s poor at steals.

The key to Hibbert’s “breakout” season is last he finally got his fouls under control, he massively upped his offensive rebounds and he improved his shooting (although it was still below average) I also want to point out that Hibbert went from terrible to above average (WP48 of 0.100 is average and 0.200 is star. Notice Hibbert is between those levels)

If we look at the top players in the NBA last season, Hibbert ranked 38th in the league. Additionally, last season was a massive outlier in his career. Yes, players do change, it’s just not common. However, Hibbert turns 26 next season. Players hit their peak right around 25, so it’s unlikely he will get much better. Also, even after his breakout he’s not an elite player. Finally, one of Hibbert’s “appealing” stats is misleading. He’s poor on offense and the Trail Blazer’s other high-priced big man is also an overrated scorer. If I was a Portland fan, I would not feel happy about this. A big part of this is that wins are actually more expensive in Portland because of its small market size. As such, a good but not great player like Hibbert is certainly not worth the max deal.

Summing up

Paul Allen apparently was upset about losing money and doing poorly. Keep in mind that although Brandon Roy is amnestied, the Blazers still have to take the hit. If Hibbert is signed then for the next two seasons the Blazers will be paying LaMarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert and Brandon Roy the same payroll and Miami’s Big Three. Also, Hibbert is not as good as Marcus Camby was. The Blazers are setting themselves up to have another Paul Allen blow up. The one bright side is they did draft well and get James’ ultimate draft gem in Will Barton. However, hoping a rookie plays well and a 25 year old player that has had one decent season will be worth a star contract doesn’t seem to be the best plan.



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