Fresh off a fifth straight dominating performance to begin the 2013-14 season, Roy Hibbert tweeted out last night that he wants to be known as the best defender in the game, culminating in a Defensive Player of the Year award by season's end.
People act like I can't have individual goals. I didn't talk about it in the past. Well now I am. I WANT DPoY. That's gonna help my team win— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) November 7, 2013
In the Pacers' 97-80 win over the Bulls last night, Hibbert grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots to go with his eight points, three assists and a steal in 37 minutes. It was the fourth time in five games Hibbert has blocked at least five shots in a game, and he's currently the league leader with 5.2 blocks per game. The closest defender to him is Anthony Davis, who has averaged four blocks per game. Hibbert's 9.0 rebounds per game are 23rd in the NBA, but he has reached double-digit rebounds in three of five games.
It's tough to argue against him being the (extremely) early candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, especially considering what his Pacers have done on defense. They are 5-0, the NBA's last remaining undefeated team, and still haven't scored 100 points on offense. Their defense has allowed 86.3 points per 100 possessions, 14 points fewer than the NBA average. And opponents have averaged just 84.4 points against the Pacers, the lowest mark in the league by nine points (Brooklyn, 93.4).
Indiana sure looks like the team to beat in the Central Division, maybe even the Eastern Conference, and Hibbert's defensive prowess has been one of the biggest reasons why.