3 Things Robert Upshaw Can Learn From Roy Hibbert

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Feb 11, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) defends New Orleans Pelicans center Jeff Withey (5) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Defend Without Fouling

Part of being a great rim protector is knowing how to go straight up and making the offensive player initiate the contact.  Having a big man who can’t play without fouling can be a huge liability to a team defensively.

Despite being one of the most active rim protectors in the NBA, Hibbert holds a career average of 3.2 fouls per game, and posted a career-low 2.8 fouls per game last season.  What made the 2014 Indiana Pacers team so great was the fact that Hibbert was able to completely control the paint, which included protecting the rim without racking up the fouls.

More from Lake Show Life

If the Lakers plan on building their future around the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle, they are going to need a guy who can make up for the mediocre defense of those three players.  Good thing for the Lakers, Upshaw led the NCAA in blocks per 40 minutes at 6.8 (DraftExpress).

In the summer league, Upshaw tied with Randle and Black at .8 blocks per game to lead the team, however, Upshaw played far less minutes.  In eleven minutes of play per game, Upshaw committed an average of three fouls per game, which won’t look good on a per 40 scale.

Part of defending the rim without fouling is knowing how to use your body.  At 7’2″ with a 7’4″ wingspan, Hibbert excels at putting his arms straight up, at times not even jumping off the ground.  At that size Hibbert does not need to jump through the air to alter a shot, which would increase his chances of fouling the shooter.

Upshaw still has plenty of room to grow, but if there is one area that Upshaw must perfect to excel as a big man in the NBA, it is rim protection, and he will have the opportunity this year to witness one of the best in the game.

Next: Be good from the charity stripe