According to Marc J. Spears, the Toronto Raptors have agreed to terms with Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough.
While the terms of the contract are unknown at the moment, Hansbrough appears set to be announced as the Raptors’ newest addition following their signing of Julyan Stone less than a week ago.
While Hansbrough has earned a reputation as a dirty player and a fouling machine with little skill, he is a specialist rebounder in the NBA. The Raptors are getting a player who was fourth in the league last year per 48 minutes at getting to the free throw line, and considering he’s a career 76% free throw shooter, that is certainly a huge asset. Former Raptor Chris Bosh shot only 2 more free throws last season (302) than Hansbrough (300). Considering the minutes the two played, and Bosh’s knack for getting to the line, that’s very impressive.
He’s played a lot of minutes in the Pacers’ rotation over the last four years, and should bring a winning attitude to the Raptors.
While he’s certainly no shot-blocker, Hansbrough has active hands on the defensive end, and is a special rebounder. Considering Dwane Casey’s request for defensive-minded players and toughness, it seems Masai Ujiri is giving his coach exactly what he’s requested.
If defense wins games, the Raptors have certainly gone the right way this offseason with the signings of Julyan Stone, Tyler Hansbrough and the trade which sent Andrea Bargnani to New York for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson and draft picks. Novak fills the need for outside shooting, and the signings of Stone and Hansbrough add defensive specialists to a roster which struggled to defend last season.
It remains to be seen which direction the Raptors will be headed this coming season, but the signing of Hansbrough signals that the Raptors are looking to get back to playing a winning style of basketball next season. He represents the type of player that has been absent from this roster since the days of Jerome Williams and Charles Oakley.
The Raptors were on the upswing when those two players were on the roster, and there’s no reason to believe the team won’t benefit greatly from the toughness and grit Hansbrough brings.