This is make or break time for Roy Hibbert. The $58 million man is at a crossroads with the Indiana Pacers, a point in his alternatively inspiring and disappointing career when he's going to prove or disprove his worth to this organization moving forward.

The playoffs, which begin Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, are the ultimate litmus test for the Pacers 7-footer. Can he rediscover the form that earned him an All-Star berth this season? Or will he continue to struggle on both ends of the floor the way he has since mid-February?

He will answer some very important questions for Larry Bird and the Pacers front office: Do they keep him and his big salary in the years ahead? Or do they try to move him and make room for Lance Stephenson's contract and some other players?

When Hibbert is right — and he was right in last year's series against the Knicks and Heat — he is a game-changer, the best rim protector in the game. When Hibbert is crawling into the emotional fetal position — as he has through most of the last few months — he clogs the lane on offense and is a cipher on the boards.

During the recent Oklahoma City game, ABC-TV analyst and former head coach Jeff Van Gundy observed that Hibbert was playing like his legs were "in cement."

Popeye Jones, the Pacers big man coach who has been watching individual tape edits with Hibbert recently, nodded his head in agreement.

"That's what it looked like to me," Jones said. "The activity wasn't there. And I think Roy understands that. I told him, even if you feel like your legs are in cement, play to exhaustion. Maybe you can't give eight minutes or the whole quarter, so play to exhaustion, tell the coach you need a blow and he'll get you back in there.

"… Looking at the tapes, his legs weren't working, like he was trying to do everything with his upper body. A lot of arm wrestling. I thought he made some progress in the Oklahoma City game, a couple of tap-outs, he was more active, and then in the first half against Orlando."

If the Pacers are going to do anything this postseason, Hibbert has got to find his game, especially on defense and on the boards. It doesn't really matter if he's a 20-and-10 guy, as he was when he was torturing the Heat last year in the Eastern Conference finals. But he's got to have an impact.