May 30, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough (right) is restrained by teammate Roy Hibbert (left) during the first half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Hansbrough – In Focus


In July the Toronto Raptors, well aware of their need for front-court help, signed free-agent power forward Tyler Hansbrough. In 2009, the Indiana Pacers drafted Hansbrough at #13 out of North Carolina, where he had enjoyed a distinguished collegiate career. Tyler’s best year as a pro was his second, in which he started 29 of 70 games, and averaged 11 points and over 5 rebounds. His minutes and numbers have dipped since that season of promise, and the Pacers, waist-deep in excellent big men like David West and Roy Hibbert, declined to offer him a contract.

Jun 3, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is fouled by Indiana Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) during the second quarter of game 7 of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Hansbrough’s nickname is “psycho-T”, which is only mildly hyperbolic. Tyler loves to play smash-mouth under the boards, throwing around his 6’9″, 250 lb. body recklessly. He averaged 5.3 PFP48M (Personal Fouls Per 48 Minutes, i.e., per game – this is the first time I’ve ever found a need to use that stat!) Resorting to cliche, he is the kind of player you hate to play against, but love as a teammate. The Raps have acquired an undesired reputation as a soft team, but the departure of Andrea Bargnani and the arrival of Tyler should dispel that notion. He won’t back down from anyone. However, Tyler is more than an agitator and defender. He can put the ball on the floor and score if given the opportunity, so don’t be surprised if you see him as the second offensive option in the half-court set. Tyler’s shooting range is strictly within 15 feet, though, so he’s the antithesis of Steve Novak, with whom he will battle for first backup behind Amir Johnson. [20-second timeout: Here's a pair of career-comparison statistics to delineate the difference between Novak and Hansbrough: Novak has hit 496 3-balls to Hansbrough's zero, but Novak has averaged 0.2 offensive boards to Hansbrough 1.9]

Based on his limited skills, Tyler doesn’t project as anything more than a career backup/emergency starter at power forward, yet I’m happy he’s a Rap. Since his injury- and illness-plagued rookie season, Tyler has remained healthy. He fills a significant gap in our skill set, a player who will take charges, dive for loose balls, aggressively defend those bigger and more talented…anything it takes to help the team win. I think this is a particularly valuable mindset to display on a youthful team in need of leadership.  It’s too early to stick the nebulous term “glue guy” on his forehead, but he might turn out that way.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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Tags: Amir Johnson Featured NBA Popular Raptors Steve Novak Toronto Raptors Tyler Hansbrough

  • cd hall

    Have you found any info on Drummond and his so called failed interview with BC.

  • Guy

    I think Hansborough was a fine pick up considering the amount of cash Ujiri had to spend. You`re right about the team needing to shed the `soft` label & TH does that. His willingness to bang in the paint cannot be understated for the Raptors & he`s quite good at drawing fouls. As Canadians, we love athletes that work hard so TH`s style of play.. energy, toughness, hustle.. should be well received by the fans.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy: Yes, I think psycho-T was a low risk acquisition, and he certainly wouldn’t look out of place in a hockey rink. We’re not expecting him to move the needle a whole bunch, but he’ll do the dirty work. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action soon.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • cd hall

    Thanks!! I believe BC made a mistake by not taking Drummond. Can you imagine JV and Drummond on the floor together in 2014-2015. His mental makeup couldn’t have been any worse than Barg’s. AB never had a leadership bone in his body, has a personality of a wet fish and needed to be treated with kid gloves (as per Smitch’s comments), yet BC took him #1.The Raps will come to regret this move.