The reaction from many over news of Tyler Hansbrough signing for the Charlotte Hornets was, to put it mildly, not good. It ranged from proclamations that the Hornets had locked themselves into the 10th seed in the East, or just being completely done with the franchise all together.
Is this kind of reaction justifiable? Not really, given the circumstances of the signing. Judging from the roster, Hansbrough's role won't likely exceed anything more than coming off the bench sporadically to fill in for an injured player, or to provide energy when the team is lacking it (and when the league gives the Hornets the most back-to-backs for the third year in a row, they will need some).
In other words, Hansbrough does not move the needle one way or another, so to act as if this signing is so bad that it causes one to throw up or stop caring about the team all together is reactionary at best.
Hansbrough still carries a reputation in North Carolina for his college career at UNC. His pro career has fallen well short, but the Hornets didn't sign him to replicate his college career. Some would argue the signing has more to do with marketing and selling tickets. That's a fair point, but when it's mid-December and Hansbrough is rarely playing, the intrigue of going to the game to watch him play is going to wear off.
"Energy" and "toughness" are the words echoing from the Hornets' camp when describing him, which by in large are things that can't be measured analytically. It's easy to scoff at those intangibles, but it's a bit hypocritical to bash Hansbrough for those things and then celebrate them with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. And yes, MKG is a much better basketball player than Hansbrough, but so much of his game is heralded off of the things that don't show up in the box score.
If Hansbrough can provide those intangibles in small doses, then he will help the team. One thing he did really well in Toronto last season was blow up ball screens, which again, isn't necessarily measured, but could be beneficial to the team. He's also a positive locker room presence, and a strong locker room was often pointed to two seasons ago as a big factor in the team making the playoffs. He's working to improve his shooting and extend his range, and shot a career high 52.1 percent last season (57.7 percent in the restricted area).
Will any of this make a huge difference this season? Probably not, so it makes little sense to criticize this signing. If anything, he is the team's new Jeff Adrien. He's undersized for the position, but works hard and can wreck a bit of havoc in the paint occasionally. Adrien was heralded for his occasional contributions, and if Hansbrough can do the same, he should be as well.