The starting five of Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas has started all five preseason games so far, and it looks set to continue that way entering the regular season.
There was one question mark, however, going into the season. The free-agent signing of Tyler Hansbrough in the offseason meant that the power forward position presented Dwayne Casey with a potentially tricky decision.
Hansbrough has four years of NBA experience under his belt, and in that time, has earned himself a reputation of someone that you do not want to play against. He pushes, niggles and ultimately gets under the opponent’s skin.
Aside of that, Hansbrough has had himself a solid career in which he has taken into his first preseason with the Raptors. Through no fault of his own, he will likely come off the bench to replace Johnson once the regular season starts.
The role could perhaps be most beneficial to Hansbrough. Coming off the bench will mean he is likely to play against the opponent’s second unit, meaning his minutes will be far more effective and have a greater overall impact.
Hansbrough has the potential to wreck havoc. His fearlessness, aggressiveness and sheer will to win can only be a thorn in other teams’ plans.
Part of a relatively weak Raptors bench, Hansbrough will be the leader, tasked with keeping his side in the game in the absence of the starters.
The former Indiana Pacer can play a crucial part in any success the Raptors have this year. He must not be disheartened coming off the bench, rather motivated at this unique opportunity that faces him. Look at the likes of Jamal Crawford and last season’s Sixth Man Of The Year J.R. Smith. These two revel and thrive in their roles of having an impact off the bench.
A big achievement for Johnson; an even bigger role for Hansbrough.