David West, who has arguably been the Indiana Pacers‘ best player this season, has missed the past two games due to a bad back. It’s a huge blow for a team that had been struggling in both the win column and on the offensive end of the floor over the past week or so.
Tyler Hansbrough was the next man in line at the power forward position and was placed into the starting lineup. In two Indiana wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, Hansbrough averaged 16 points and 12.5 rebounds. These performances actually gave some who follow the Pacers organization the (crazy) notion that Hansbrough should be a permanent starter over West.
While the idea of replacing West — who should’ve been an All-Star — with Hansbrough is ludicrous, the Pacers franchise shouldn’t overrate this spark of productivity from him come this summer.
Hansbrough currently holds a qualifying offer for next season. Basically, the Pacers and Hansbrough can agree to that number this upcoming off-season and he will play under a one-year contact next season. If the Pacers choose to denounce his cap hold, Hansbrough then becomes a restricted free agent.
When you factor in Indiana’s current cap situation and what’s ahead, Hansbrough becomes a rather expendable piece to the Pacers’ puzzle.
Hansbrough does provide value on the court. Don’t get me wrong. His constant motor allows him to be an average rebounder despite lacking elite athleticism and limited length. He also draws fouls in abundance, averaging well over a free throw for every two field goal attempts in his four seasons.
Alas, what Hansbrough brings to the table is often offset by what he takes from it. He either has the worst vision in the entire NBA or he’s one of the most selfish players — maybe a little of both.
When he grabs an offensive rebound, or even catches a pass near the paint, the ball is headed towards the rim no matter the defense that is in front of him. It’s one of the most annoying parts of Hansbrough’s game, and it shows through his pathetically low assist rate.
Hansbrough also fancies himself a mid-range jump shooter at times, despite the numbers suggesting he’s anything but. He’s currently shooting 28 percent from that area, per NBA.com.
Throw in average-at-best defense, the previously mentioned limited athleticism and the fact that Hansbrough will turn 28 next season, and you begin to see a profile that doesn’t exactly deserve a multi-year deal.
I believe the Pacers front office realizes this, as the they reportedly shopped him at the deadline. With that being said, Pacers fans shouldn’t overrate Hansbrough, as the people calling the shots most likely won’t come July.
Brandon Curry is an NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow Brandon Twitter @ByBrandonCurry