Tyler Hansbrough has a lot to prove this season, as he is most likely to start at power forward this year for the Indiana Pacers since Troy Murphy was dealt to the New Jersey Nets in order for Indy to receive Darren Collison and James Posey.
The legend from North Carolina looks to show that he is NBA-worthy and looks to prove all the naysayers wrong.
Last season, he couldn’t, and he was only able to play 29 games that season. He was out for most of the year due to a severe ear infection.
Now he’s back and is ready to go full-contact. Hansbrough showed signs of his toughness from playing with the Tar Heels in a scrimmage with Indy, being aggressive and also knocking Danny Granger to the ground when he was driving down the line. That;s what you need to expect from Psycho-T.
“I’m feeling great,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of progress. I feel very optimistic.”
Hansbrough averaged only 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds last season. He was criticized a lot in his basketball career for not being able to rebound well. This may be something to drastically to improve on. Hansbrough has never sat out for a season that long. For him, it felt uncommon. Very foreign.
“It was frustrating,” he said. “I wasn’t happy with my situation, and there was nothing I could do about it, so I was just trying to focus on getting healthy.”
He was recovering, and according to head coach Jim O’Brien, Hansbrough came back to camp in remarkable shape.
“I feel like I’m not in the best shape in my life, but I’m not in the worst,” he said. “I feel like I’m in good shape.”
The Pacers will recover him fully, slowly. O’Brien wants to be careful on him and not put too much on him.
“I expect him to be healthy, which he is,” he said. “I couldn’t have been happier two Junes ago, drafting him. He’s got a tremendous passion and intensity for the game, but I also know there has to be some rust by him virtually missing all of last year.”
Hansbrough said he’s gained a lot of experience last season. He will battle against Solomon Jones, Jeff Foster, Josh McRoberts, and Magnum Rolle for the starting power forward spot.
“I think Troy was a good guy to learn from while I was healthy,” he said. “It is a good opportunity to kind of have a possible starting job, but more important, just getting out there and playing like I used to.”
O’Brien wants Hansbrough to increase and fix his mindset in order to earn more minutes and prove himself.
“In college, he was a scorer and an attacker,” he said. “He has to develop his game where he’s also a facilitator — when he’s not a a position to score, he has to be effective in his ability to pass the ball to his teammates.”
O’Brien is very optimistic in Hansbrough for this season.
“By the end of this year, we’ll know what we have in Tyler, and I believe we will be pleased with what we have,” he said.
I hope so, too, along with many other Pacers fans.