Clippers Off-Season Target: F Tyler Hansbrough


Who Is He?

NameTyler Hansbrough

Position: Power Forward

Experience: 6 years

Height: 6’9

Free Agent Type: Unrestricted

2014-15 Stats: 74 games, 3.6 points, 52% shooting, 3.6 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 13.3 PER

Free Agency Situation

No one really has a clue what Toronto is going to do this off-season. Swept in the Round 1 of the playoffs despite having homecourt, this team could be on the verge of complete makeover, which includes trading “key” pieces and finding new rotation players, which could lead to Hansbrough (earned $3.3 million in ’14-15) finding a new home for the 2015-16 season.

It should be noted that Hansbrough is one of four Raptors frontcourt players entering the summer as an unrestricted free agent (Johnson, Hayes, Stiemsma).

Highlight of Choice

What The Internet is Saying

Well, if you can’t shoot, pass, or protect the rim, there’s not much of a place for you as a big man in today’s NBA. For that reason, counting on an undersized and physically limited Hansbrough to slot in as one of your primary frontcourt players off the bench or a spot-starter is suboptimal. He’s great as an energy guy or fourth or fifth big, especially when you need six fresh fouls to use against a tough opponent, but asking for anything more than that is expecting too much.Raptors HQ

Simply put, when he was on the court, Hansbrough outworked everyone, regardless of whether they were teammates or opponents. He played hard, scrapping for rebounds, bodying up on opposing bigs in the paint and driving to the hoop when he got the chance. His effort was admirable, though his skill often left something to be desired. Hansbrough isn’t a graceful player, but he was a useful asset as a high energy reserve this year. When the Raptors needed more toughness and intensity, Hansbrough would come in.Raptors Rapture

On the Floor

Something tells me Clippers head coach/team president Doc Rivers would LOVE Tyler Hansbrough. In fact, a quote from 2011 pretty much confirms that.

“I have seen what I have always seen—if you’re not mentally ready to play against Tyler Hansbrough, he’ll kick your butt,” Rivers told Sporting News. “That’s who he has always been. His skills, I think people look at this kid and they see him playing crazed, wild and hard and they forget that he is skilled, he can shoot the ball, he has a high IQ.”

Not exactly the most skilled player on the market, but 10 times out of 10, Hansbrough, like Glen Davis, isn’t going to be out-hustled and out-hearted (is that a word?) by his positional counterpart.

That counts for something right?

At 6’9, Hansbrough is stuck in no-man’s land defensively, sort of like Blake Griffin at times, but worse: Hansbrough isn’t long enough to be relied on as a rim protector (allowed opponents to shoot 58.1% at the rim per SportsVU), lacks the size to be a brick wall in the post (opponents shot 50.8% against Hansbrough in the post per Synergy), and isn’t an elite defender away from the rim, specifically in the pick-and-roll (though he tries hard!).

Like Griffin, Hansbrough IS athletic enough — though not as athletic as Blake — to do this from time to time.

Offensively, though he isn’t much of a shooter despite the white-guy stereotype, Hansbrough gets the bulk of his points in the paint, relying on guards to find him on drives, sliding into open space as defenders commit to ball-handlers (which is an underrated skill as a big man). In a pick-and-roll heavy offense, this is imperative as one of Griffin’s best skills in the half-court is finding DeAndre Jordan under the rim when the defense commits and Paul’s ability in the mid-range forces defending bigs to react to him. Athletically, Hansbrough is no jumper like Jordan, but if in as the small-ball four beside Griffin (or even Spencer Hawes, who’s a decent passer) he could fill in as a DAJ-replacement around the basket.

In the pick-and-roll as the initial receiver, Hansbrough performed well — another plus: per Synergy, Tyler averaged 1.40 points per possession as the pick-and-roll man (which was 32% of his total offense), shooting 63.9% on 61 attempts.

Oh, and Hansbrough is an agitator if there ever was one. These are useful players (see: Delladova, Matthew; CLE).

Chance of Signing

It’ll depend mostly on what Hansbrough wants. At this point in his career, there won’t be teams knocking down a door to sign him. Joining the Clippers could be his last chance at sticking with a contender while he’s ‘productive’ and they’re one team that could offer a player of his talents space in the rotation behind two productive, All-Star talented bigs in Griffin and Jordan, meaning all Hansbrough has to do is not be a net negative unless previous forwards in his position.

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