Tyler Hansbrough is a basketball legend in North Carolina.
That was, of course, at UNC. Hansbrough was the star on a team chock full of NBA players including Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Ed Davis, and Tyler Zeller (big brother of current Hornet Cody Zeller) and led the Tar Heels to a national championship in 2009. Since his college days, Hansbrough has enjoyed a quiet NBA career as a role player for the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors. The Hornets decided to add Hansbrough on a one-year deal. Can Hansbrough find a place in the rotation or will he be stuck on the bench?
Hansbrough established himself in the Raptors rotation last season and averaged 14.3 minutes per game in 74 games. He brought decent rebounding to a team that was 26th in the league at rebounds per game. While he only averaged 3.6 rebounds in his limited minutes, ranked third on the Raptors in Total Rebounding Percentage, at 14.4 percent.
The Raptors were not a good defensive squad last year, so it doesn't mean much that Hansbrough ranked as the fifth best defensive player on the squad with a 107 Defensive Rating. Throughout his career, Hansbrough's defensive ability could be described as mediocre at best.
His offense, on the other hand, is built on putbacks, tip-ins, and other shots close to basket. Outside of the paint, Hansbrough can make a few midrange shots. Still, he didn't take enough of them for those shots to be effective or notable.
Where Hansbrough fits
Hansbrough will have to really compete for minutes due to the Hornets' depth at forward. Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, and Spencer Hawes are expected to occupy most of the minutes at the four, and these three players are much more well-rounded players. Zeller brings an improving midrange game this season and can hopefully build on a solid sophomore season. Williams and Hawes bring 3-point shooting to a team that desperately needs to space the floor for Al Jefferson in the post. Frank Kaminsky could also see a fair bit of time at the power forward spot as well, though he'll need to prove he can be consistent enough to warrant regular minutes. Hansbrough doesn't fit as well as the Hornets' other forwards; he plays around the same area as Big Al and can't stretch the floor with shooting from behind the arc. Expect to see him playing at the end of blowouts. He should not be a major part of the Hornets rotation.
Where praise is due
Hansbrough has had a quiet career since winning 2008 National Player of Year and becoming the ACC's all-time leading scorer. While Hansbrough has never really lived up to the hype surrounding him in college, he's still a serviceable player. He hustles hard, rebounds, and does what is asked of him. He's worth a one-year contract, and it won't hurt to have a UNC legend donning the purple and teal.