The Toronto Raptors made a big acquisition this summer leading into the 2013-14 NBA season that paid dividends immediately. The Raptors were able to lure in vaunted general manager Masai Ujiri, who masterfully (or perhaps by means of sorcery) was able to unload the colossally overpaid Andrea Bargnani in a trade that brought back, in essence, Steve Novak.
In terms of free agency acquisitions, though, the Raptors weren’t active in trying to sign any big-name players and weren’t interested in making a huge number of signings either. When all the dust had settled, their biggest signing of the off-season was, more than likely, fifth-year reserve power forward Tyler Hansbrough.
Hansbrough spent the first four seasons of his career with the Indiana Pacers where his role fluctuated by was almost entirely off of the bench. He earned, more or less, the reputation as less of a playmaker or scorer and more of a pesky rebounder and offensive player that’s not afraid to play with extreme physicality.
Through his first six games in Toronto, Hansbrough had continued his ho-hum production that we’ve grown accustomed. Playing 19.7 minutes per game, he was averaging 6.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field coming into their game against the winless Utah Jazz on Saturday night. On Saturday, though, Hansbrough showed off his “skill-set” and had a big night.
Playing 28 minutes off of the bench, Psycho T put up 23 points, seven rebounds in two steals. However, the most impressive part was that the forward took only nine field goal attempts, but got to the line 13 times, converting on 11 of his attempts.
Obviously Hansbrough isn’t a 20 points per game type of scorer, but he is a physical presence that doesn’t shy away from the dirty work. What he does isn’t pretty by any means and it might not end up in highlight packages, but it could have real value for Toronto this season.