Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Young Mutombo

Roy Hibbert went to Georgetown. Dikembe Mutombo went to Georgetown. Hibbert wears #55, as does Mutombo. Hibbert is 7’2”, Mutombo is 7’2”, and they both play in the NBA. The only difference between the two is 21 years of age, and when listening to Roy Hibbert you actually can understand what he’s saying. Georgetown has produced good centers in its history (Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and most recently Michael Sweetney) and Roy Hibbert could become a name on that list…here’s a look at the new Indiana Pacer, and how he compares to Mutombo’s style of play.

Since his freshman year at Georgetown, Hibbert has shown his tremendous work ethic by improving in virtually every category. His hook shot is smooth and fluent; he’s really nailed it down. For a big guy, he has soft hands and great touch around the basket. He has good ball control and can take hits in the paint and still finish. Although he’s no Shaq, he needs more training at the free throw line; he shot less than 70% in his career at Georgetown. Hibbert isn’t as strong as Mutombo, but don’t take his uncut frame for granted.

Defensively, very few even come close to the level of play produced by Dikembe Mutombo. However, since Hibbert has great length and enviable work ethic, the sky is the limit with what he could turn into. If Hibbert is fortunate enough to have a good trainer that improves defensive awareness and mentality, he could develop into a feared player. At the other end, while Hibbert has good touch around the rim, when shooting 10-15 foot jumpers Hibbert becomes inconsistent. He knocked down a game winning three vs. UConn (which was hilarious when I saw it, I couldn’t stop laughing; he looked so awkward) but behind the arc he has ways to go before he really becomes a threat.

In terms of athleticism, I previously took note of Hibbert’s length, but in all honesty that’s about all he’s got. Running the floor he seems to tire out quickly, only playing 26 minutes a game. If he is going to be a starter in the NBA he will have to be able to put in 35 minutes every game.

Sorry Roy, but I’m not quite done exploiting your weaknesses.

Hibbert has many extra hours in the gym calling his name, especially leg workouts. I could finish my chemistry homework quicker than he can shuffle ten yards, and I’m more of the English type…his jumping ability is weak although he doesn’t need more than a three or four inch vertical with his height. Hibbert and Mutombo have yet another thing in common, and that’s overall speed. I’m not saying Hibbert needs to get his 40 time up to the Devin Harris/Derrick Rose neighborhood, but somewhere in the vicinity of Amare Stoudemire or Andrew Bynum.

I’m no fortune teller, but I don’t really see Hibbert ever making anywhere near what Mutombo has raked in (114 million dollars) but he could become a great basketball player if he really, really works at it.


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