Larry Bird would like to see a more consistent Roy Hibbert next season and suggested Monday that the center find a Hall of Famer to work with this summer to solidify his game.
Bird, at his season wrap-up news conference Monday, said the Pacers brought in Hall of Famer Bill Walton to work with Hibbert one time this season. He'd like Hibbert to work with somebody like Walton or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this offseason, as well.
"Roy's never asked us to go bring someone in," Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations, said. "I always say big guys are different. I would encourage Roy to try to get with one of the greats. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the best teachers. Bill Walton is great. They know how to play the position as well as anyone ever has. I would encourage that."
Inconsistency marked Hibbert's season and he was a nonfactor at times during the postseason. He went scoreless in four playoff games, including Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Bird credited Hibbert with being "active" in the first half of the season, when he was contesting shots and making it difficult for opponents to score around the rim. But shortly before the All-Star break, something changed, Bird said.
Bird said he's not sure what's to blame for Hibbert's inconsistent play. He said he talked to Hibbert briefly a number of times during the season and the center would ask him, "What do you see?"
"When Roy loses his confidence, he struggles at times," Bird said. "I hope he can come back strong. I hope he can do the things necessary to get better."
Bird said he hasn't talked to Hibbert about his summer plans yet but believes Hibbert is willing to do what it takes to improve for next season.
"I think Roy is open to about anything, anything that he thinks would make himself a better basketball player," he said.