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Thread: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

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    Default Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Thank you to all of you who have written me or PM'd me in the last couple of days requesting one of my reviews of the Pacers newest member, Tyler Hansbrough. It is nice to know that my opinion is so valued by some of you. With that in mind, I did an extensive study of a huge amount of video of Hansbrough this weekend, since I had a 3 day weekend from work.

    Before the draft, I included Hansbrough in my "best of rest" draft thread. Here is what I wrote prior to the draft about the UNC forward:

    "Tyler Hansbrough will be a decent NBA player that your coaching staff is always glad to have on your team. He will help in practice as a guy who will push your veterans to play hard, and he has some skills to really help a team as a bench role player. He is exceptionally fast at changing ends, and will be among the league leaders in garbage points if he plays enough. On cold February nights during a stretch of 3 games in 4 nights, he will come in and spark a team to a victory with his hustle and hard play. Fundamentally his footwork with the ball is excellent, despite the fact that he can't score over anyone bigger than him at this level I don't think. Utah makes alot of sense at #20 for him, and teams on either side of them may be interested. He reminds me alot of a Luis Scola type player."


    With that as my initial impression before my "superstudy", let me put his game under the Tbird microscope.

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    The first thing that always is mentioned about Hansbrough is his effort level and motor, so let me delve into that first.

    My impression of some fans is that many of them do not in truth understand what "playing hard" really is. Playing hard isn't just a state of mind, or a conscious decision like most people think. Always, when you see Tyler Hansbrough play, or read about him, or talk about him amongst your family and friends, remember this ultimate coaching truth:

    PLAYING HARD IS A SKILL!!!!

    Playing with maximum effort takes just as much drill work, practice, and mental discipline as being able to rebound, dribble with both hands, shoot from outside, or any other fundamental skill you want to talk about. The concept of "playing hard" doesn't come as a natural thing, it has to be taught, practiced, and drilled into you.....and/or you have to be naturally gifted with such a disposition that doing anything less than your best is unacceptable to your own being.

    Players, and people in general for that matter, don't all naturally do their very best at anything all the time. Most people tend to want to work right to the point of where it gets uncomfortable, and most also are greatly influenced by the work ethic of those around them. We are all guilty of being that way from time to time I am sure.

    Hansbrough seems to be one of those rare people who are extremely self motivated, and truly genuine about getting the absolute maximum out of his ability. This isn't just apparent in game conditions....in fact, games are the worst place to be able to tell who plays with passion and who doesn't. To really understand that, you have to see how much willpower and dedication a player has in his willingness to prepare himself to succeed when no one is watching, when no cameras are rolling, and when there is no glory in it but the personal satisfaction of knowing you are giving everything you have to achieve a goal.

    Hanbrough is in great condition, and plays the game with a reckless enthusiasm on game nights....we all can see that. But the true sign of how a player like Hansbrough can succeed isn't by watching ESPN, it's by watching him come in at 11 at night and shoot jump shots by himself, or how he watches game film with the coaching staff (which he did at UNC regularly), or how he studies his opponents with great intensity and purpose, looking for any single small edge that may help him and his team succeed.

    Find all of that corny if you will, but Hansbrough is a winning basketball player with the right mentality to achieve every last drop of success his abilities will allow him. You cannot ever go wrong with adding guys like that to your culture of your locker room.

    Some analysts who don't think Hansbrough has any NBA skills are incorrect.....playing and preparing hard is a great skill to have, and Hansbrough has more skill in that one fundamental than 95% of the NBA.

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    Let's discuss Hansbrough on the defensive end first.

    On draft night, when some of you asked me this at the draft party, I compared Hansbrough to a "Jeff Foster" type of defender. I didn't mean that to say that I think he will be a Jeff Foster overall type player (Hansbrough is much different offensively and in style and size) but I do think in terms of defensive technique he will do things very similarly.

    Hansbrough on the perimeter is what I would call a "one way" defender. He won't be quick enough laterally to guard a player straight up and shut down his dribble in either direction, he will need to be able to cheat one way or the other, and force a player in a predetermined direction toward help. In other words, he will in no way be a great defender overall, but he will be able to play in a designed defensive concept and scheme as long as it isn't too wacky.

    For example, if Hansbrough is stuck on the perimeter trying to guard a quick hybrid type of "4 man", he will have to play a guy "over half way" and forece him in a particular direction. Teams will no doubt try to isolate Hansbrough on the wings when they have him in a mismatch potentially (Jamison, Lewis, etc etc), and when they do, he will need to force them into help that is organized and pre determined.

    In terms of a post defender, Hansbrough likes to body up on people, which isn't good....he will need to learn not to do this as much at the pro level. Hansbrough does a reasonable good job on film of meeting post players up the lane and bumping them, but he doesn't always make a giant effort in fighting for defensive position. Of course, at the college level sometimes you want the ball thrown inside as a team defense, as most colleges don't have a good enough post player to score consistently after the catch of any real move is required.

    After his man catches the ball in the low post, Hansbrough does reasonably well if the man makes a traditional back to the basket move. Hansbrough plays physically, and got away with bumping people smartly during their turnaround jumpers against him. Hansbrough would "walk into" an airborne shooter, or lightly touch their chest, just enough to perhaps throw off their shot. Normally, TH did a good job of getting both hands up and extending his arms, locking in his elbows to give himself maximum height. Super top notch players can rise up and shoot over Hansbrough, as he usually stayed on the ground in order to get blockout position instead of going for a shot block. Average wing span and lack of quick leaping ability makes Hansbrough a below average shotblocker in the NBA game, and that seems to be one area unlikely to improve.

    Hansbrough is going to have to play with better balance defensively, and improve his athleticism thru some plyometrics or agility drills. In the above scenario, many players will be able to post him and score over the top of him, so Hansbrough will need to be able to be taught to jump in the air quicker and contest post jumpers better. To do that, he will need to play less flat footed and more up on the balls of his feet, and play with his knees flexed so he can get off the ground more quickly. On tape, even if he did leap to try and block a shot, the ball would be released before he got to the apex of his leap.

    Against high quality NBA post up power forwards, Hansbrough will at times need double team help....not all the time, but it will at least have to be part of the package you put in defensively.

    When his man catches the ball inside and faces him up, Hansbrough can be beaten off the first move/step due to some balance issues. He looks to me that he plays bent over at the waist, leaning too far forward, which means he can be beaten when he loses his center of gravity. He is going to need to be able to improve that at the NBA level, because teams are more and more going to quicker, better ballhandling 4 men who can score off the dribble.

    However, in this same scenario ( a post guy catches and faces up) when the offensive guy chooses to rise up and take a jump shot, Hansbrough does contest this particular shot better. While he is sometimes a tick late to influence the shot much upstairs, he does influence below the release point by blocking vision, bumping someones chest or waist, and by particularly being very physical in blocking out a jump shooter. Taking a baseline jump shot is UNCOMFORTABLE against Hansbrough because of his aggressiveness and physicality....you can get the shot off...but upon landing is where the hard work begins.

    As a help defender, he won't block shots, but he will influence them by knowing the scheme well and being in the right spot. Much like Foster does, Tyler Hansbrough will likely take a huge amount of charges for an NBA power forward in his career, once he gets the respect of the officials in a couple of years this will be very effective for him. In the short term, Hansbrough will have to fight foul trouble from time to time, as most NBA young bigs do.

    Long term, with the games/styles of Hibbert and Hansbrough, we will need to add a third player who can play each of the front court spots, who hopefully can rebound in above average way and can defend both spots. Each of these guys project to be slightly above average offensive players, great teammates, and quality players, but they also are going to be slightly below average defenders and only average rebounders for their positions. To be successful long term, we will need to add someone who compliments both players. Somewhere between Joakim Noah and Dale Davis would be nice.....JO in his prime (without the attitude) would be even nicer.

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    As a rebounder, Hansbrough looks like he will to me be about average, probably getting a rebound about every 4 to 4.5 minutes played. He is relentless at rebounding his own shots particularly. Hansbrough isn't a super leaper, but he reads the ball in the air well and goes after almost every rebound. He wont get a bunch of boards outside his own area, but if the ball comes near him he will fight harder for it than most will. He has good to great hands and is active the entire game...he is aggressive, and seems to like contact.....I sometimes think Hansbrough likes being blocked out, so he can try to outquick/outbattle/outthink someone to the ball.

    His lack of super size, lack of reach, elite leaping ability, and being quick off the ground will keep him from being an "A" level rebounder, but he will be efficient and sufficient for the position I think long term. An elite level rebounder at some point is going to be needed to the roster to pair with both Hibbert and Hansbrough however, as neither of our current young bigs are going to be above average for their positions as total rebounders.

    If I were coaching Hansbrough and Hibbert, I would work with both of them on making the 2 handed overhead outlet pass. Both these guys have the natural ability to master this skill....particularly Hibbert does as a very good passer overall. Learning this great fast break starting skill would cause teams who play us to retreat back on defense instead of crashing the offensive glass, and therefore mitigate each of their own rebounding shortcomings. This is would be a major point of emphasis for me if I were to advise Jim O'Brien.

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    While Hansbrough isn't the quickest moving his feet side to side, he is among the fastest I've seen at changing ends of the floor. It is so so difficult to get bigs to relentlessly sprint down the floor, yet Hansbrough has had that ability since he was in high school. The ability to transition from defense to offense is just as much a mental toughness issue as anything, the ability to play the game at a higher concentration level than your opponent. Hansbrough absolutely busts it down the floor all game long, which helps him establish early post position and leverage against trailing defenders.

    This skill will be huge for our Pacers right out of the gate. The Pacers had excellent threats everywhere on the floor in an early offense situation, except as a vertical threat right down the lane near the rim...now we replace Foster, Nesterovic, and Hibbert in this role with a player who is among the very best at it coming out of college....that is a major upgrade for the 20 possessions or so a game that end up being early offensive chances, assuming TH is in the game when they occur. Hansbrough will get a couple of layups/dunks a game just by beating his man down the floor and recieving a lead pass next year.

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    Offensively in general, Hansbrough has alot of room to grow and improve, which he will need to do to make it.

    With his back to the basket, Hansbrough is good at establishing position and recieving the ball. He seems to take it personally when teams deny him the basketball, and he is so physical about fighting for the ball that many players just let him catch as the game goes on. At this level, that will translate, partially for the same reasons it did in college, but also because at this very second of his development, Hansbrough is going to struggle to score over someone his size or taller anyway.

    Hansbrough loves contact, and likes to jump into defenders, bounce off them, get the whistle, and then shoot AROUND them, not over them. Bigger players, less generous whistles, and more sophisticated defenses are going to give Hansbrough trouble early in his career when trying to become a true low post option as a power player. He will likely for a while next fall get his shot blocked from the weakside quite a bit, which will probably cause alot of consternation in the arena, on the bench, and on this board. Hansbrough will likely struggle early in his career with his back to the basket, but he will over come it in ways that I will talk about just a bit lower in this article.

    Going off the dribble, Hansbrough has some decent abilities in short bursts, but when asked to dribble more than once or twice he is turnover prone. He can get a bit off balance, especially since he likes to drive right into the defenders and spin off them rather than go around them. Hansbrough particularly likes to to dribble, turn his back, spin and go back to his right shoulder. Knowing that, some smarter teams sent "diggers" in from the perimeter to try and strip him from the ball, with moderate success. He needs to show more patience here, instead of acting like a bull in a china shop. A clever jab step to set up his dribble move would be a nice first thing to work on. One thing he does great is pivot hard and strong, but then he doesn't always wait and read his man to see what move would be best....he rushes it a beat too fast. He also drug his pivot foot an alarming amount of times, and was rarely called for it for some reason in the college game. He made traveling moves that reminded of me of Patrick Ewing's dance steps back in the day. He will need to clean that up at the next level you would think, although with the way officiating is....maybe not.

    Hansbrough is not yet a good passer from the low post. In fact, he is extremely focused on scoring once he gets the basketball. Of course, when you are the all time leading scorer in the best college conference of all time, you and your coaches aren't wanting you to pass anyway. This is clearly an area he will have to improve on with time.

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    Clearly, Hansbrough has a scorers mentality, which is one reason why the Foster comparisons are so overblown and incorrect in totality. But he will need to broaden his game as a scorer to be effective long term. Thankfully, we already know that Hanbrough is extremely coachable, and willing to put the work in, and being coached in an environment where everyone there seems to love him. Hansbrough could probably have not handpicked for himself a better place for him to be playing for his long term growth.

    The key for Hansbrough as I see it to be a very good NBA offensive player is going to be his jump shot from 15-17 feet, and his ability to continue to broaden his footwork and moves as a post player.

    Hansbrough's first step as back to the basket player if I were coaching him now would be to learn the "Sikma" pivot, and to get it down cold and be the very best at it. That being, make a "reverse" pivot after catching the ball with your back to the basket and "opening up" to your man, creating space. He needs to get the footwork down for that exact move, turning low and on balance, and holding the ball in such a way that if your defender stays back, you can use the extra room you created to make an open jump shot.

    That move isn't easy, and the abilty to shoot quickly out of it is difficult, as most players hold the ball too low to shoot immediately when they do it. But I project Hansbrough to have the work ethic and be enough of a film watcher and gym rat to make that move work for him.

    Next, you build on that by learning how ot make that "Sikma pivot" and use your improved quick jumper to shot fake and drive out of it. TH won't be able to blow by people, but this will get them off balance and get himself to the line, where he is an 80% shooter.

    Then, you build on that by learning the fadeaway jumper, dropping your base foot when posting up right between a defenders feet. This is a skill Al Harrington is great at, and that Mark Aguirre mastered. Larry Bird had this move too, except he was so great he could do it from 20 plus feet. Hansbrough won't be able to do that, but he needs to have it from inside 10 feet near the baseline or low blocks.

    The moves off that are the drop step or spin moves, which Hansbrough already excels at. He goes to his right much better than his left currently, so he is going to need to improve that with hard work, which thankfully we know he will be willing to do.

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    To really be a multi dimensional weapon, Hansbrough needs to become a great screener. He is pretty good already, I'd rate him around slightly above average in my tougher grading scale.

    Hansbrough can particularly end up being a great player in "pick and pop" situations, setting high ball screens for whoever our point guard is, and then rolling back slightly to make a 15 to 17 footer. I do not want or need Hansbrough to develop a 3 point shot, I think that will be silly and needless if JOB encourages that. But a player with the athletic limitations Hansbrough has needs to be able to consistently stick the straight on jump shot, the elbow area jumpers, and the corner dump pass jumpers.

    There are lots of guys who make a living at the Power forward spot who feast as mid range jump shooters for a big part of their production. I'm thinking about guys like Horace Grant and PJ Brown, who feasted off the baseline jump shot. I particularly envision Hansbrough making the top of key and foul line jumper, or just beyond the elbow areas off a catch and shoot pop back type of situation.

    Screening away from the ball, Hansbrough is better after he screens that when he screens, if that makes any sense. He sometimes stands too narrowly, and actually misses his target. He also takes off too soon occasionally, anxious to get in scoring position for a pass. He'll need to be taught patience as a screener. After he screens, he seems very intelligent about how to position his body, pivot and open up to recieve passes from the players who have the basketball.

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    So, what do we have?

    Contrary to what people believe about Larry Bird's philosophy in drafting, this pick is much more a long term move than short term. In the short term, Hansbrough is stuck behind a player with an expensive long term contract in Troy Murphy, and neither has the skill set to play alongside each other on the defensive end....so it will likely be Murphy for 30 plus minutes, with Hansbrough getting the rest as a backup.

    Hansbrough makes more sense long term. No one doubts that his work ethic, skill sets, and talents will give him a basketball paying job for the next decade. So he either will develop into a "4th big man", playing spot minutes in a rotation (this is where he is right now), as a "3rd big man" playing alongside 2 other good bigs in a 6th man type role playing 28-30 minutes or so on a highly successful team (this is where I see him if he improves by year 3 like I think he will), or as a legitimate starter at PF for the long term, playing 35 minutes a night (this is where I think Bird sees his potential).

    I see his comparable NBA counterpart playing currently as Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets, a very valuable player on a very successful and smart basketball team, but probably the third or 4th best player in their lineup.

    Others that do not like his game see him as Mark Madsen, career NBA benchwarmer, but I think is way way better than that. Madsen is a guy who seems happy to be on the team, Hansbrough is a guy who is going to be crushed by losing games and by not having success....he is too driven a personality to end up a 12th man.

    As far as past NBA comparables go, I've read where scouts that love him compare him to former NBA greats Dave Cowens (Boston Celtics) or Dave Debusshere (New York Knicks). I think those comparisons are too ambitious....Tyler will be a good NBA player, but not to that level.

    I think 2 better comparisons that come to mind, IF he develops the way I personally expect him to, would be :

    Horace Grant, Chicago Bulls (among others)

    Or perhaps the best long term prediction of a past player, IF Hansbrough pans out the way I think he will could be.............


    Bill Laimbeer.

    Laimbeer was a better rebounder than I project Hansbrough to be, but he was a tough minded, hard nosed, borderline dirty player that his fans and teammates loved but his opponents loathed, including our own Larry Bird. He played extremely hard, and was one of the most intelligent bigs in the league. Right now Hansbrough has more offensive back to the basket game than Laimbeer did, who become primarily a jump shooter eventually, which is what I think will happen to Hansbrough after a few years of throwing his body around.

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    I hope all of you who requested this detailed breakdown of Tyler Hansbrough's game are happy with the end result. I must say that I wish I had done this one before the draft pick was made, but I just ran out of time between the lottery and draft night.

    While I still would have picked James Johnson instead of Hansbrough personally, I feel better about Tyler Hansbrough after a few days perspective, and after studying game footage of him all weekend. Long term, Hansbrough seems like a very well thought out and sensible pick, and will only improve the winning culture that the Pacers are trying to build, both on the floor and in the marketing world.

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    As always, the above is just my opinion.

    Tbird
    Last edited by thunderbird1245; 06-28-2009 at 09:24 PM.

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    Member Pacemaker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Great read !! I'm rooting for Psycho T !!

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Horace Grant in his prime was a 14/10 guy and one of the league's better defensive players at PF. He had a FT line jumper that was money and he was a decent shotblocker.

    I don't see Hansbrough being able to influence the game defensively the way Grant did. He's just not tall enough.

    I think Scola is a decent comparison, but Scola has more finesse to his game and is a better passer. Overall level of impact, I think he can possibly be on par with Scola and Udonis Haslem, which in retrospect, isn't that bad for the #13 pick in a bad draft.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Well done, sir.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Great read, it really was. Thank you for such an in depth breakdown on the newest Pacer. I am happy with this pick and what Tyler can bring now and will be able to bring in the future, especially at number 13 in such a weak draft.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    I think we should have a T-Bird thread...we'll read whatever he wants to post.

    As always, outstanding.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Great read - thanks for posting.

    I like and fully agree with the Scola comparison. Haslem is another name that comes to mind. Haslem is slightly undersized but makes up for that with hustle and toughness. He understands he's not able to take the typical PF with his back to the basket, so he's developed a deadly 15 footer. I really think the jump shot is going to make or break Tyler. If he can make that his bread and butter, he'll be a solid starter. I believe with his work ethic, it's definitely possible. Shooting is a skill that is refined through time in the gym, which we can all agree Tyler is willing to commit too. Consistently getting to the line will be another area I hope he parlays into the NBA game. At an 80% clip, that is a huge skill set that should be taken advantage of.

    While I never see Tyler as an all-star, I can see him starting on a contender, assuming there are at least 3-4 better all around talents on the roster. He can become a very very good glue guy, who can help you by doing the little things such as hustle, making the smart play, rebounding, getting and converting at the line, and hitting the open J. Teams like Houston and Miami have proven you can achieve success in the playoffs with these "glue guys" at the four.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Very good read. I think Hansbrough will be a valuable piece on a good basketball team, but not as a starter. I think people who are penciling him in as starter of the future are a little too caught up in the post draft hype, he just has too many limitations... but certainly someone you want on your basketball team. Similar to Foster in that respect...
    Last edited by Infinite MAN_force; 06-28-2009 at 11:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Another great informative post from tbird.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Thank you for the analysis. I generally agree with most of what you said from my games of watching him, and there are a couple of things that stand out. First:

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    He has good to great hands and is active the entire game...
    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    Going off the dribble, Hansbrough has some decent abilities in short bursts, but when asked to dribble more than once or twice he is turnover prone....Hansbrough particularly likes to to dribble, turn his back, spin and go back to his right shoulder. Knowing that, some smarter teams sent "diggers" in from the perimeter to try and strip him from the ball, with moderate success.

    While I noticed this too, I think Hansbrough has a problem with his hands that leads me to believe they are small. He was getting stripped, but he seemed to have problems prior to the dribble and sometimes on the catch. This, I thought, happened on both ends of the court.

    Also, another thing that stood out to me is his knack for making baskets after creating contact. While I think he has some size/athletic limitations at his position, his ability to hit tough shots could compensate for some of his deficiencies.

    I love the Scola comparison. I want him to be as crafty as Scola. His biggest asset now (like you mentioned) will be his ability to get in transition and try to get position/layups before the defense settles. I love this about him.

    For Pacers comparisons (offensively), he actually reminds me a bit of a less athletic version of Antonio Davis. AD has small hands, but loved contact and was able to hit tough shots.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Pretty spot on except for a few things.

    1. He can guard on the perimeter against quicker guys. He only gets into trouble if he is on someone that is a very quick dribbler and then its only after 3 or so quick moves. After that he gets on his heels because he is to wide at his base ( not because of being bent over ).

    2. " Not being able to score over bigger guys " is also a reach. We really dont know that because he wasnt guarded by just one person. It was 2 and 3. You dont average 20 a game by not being able score over bigger defenders. I would put my money on Hansbrough breaking down one on one defenders any day.

    There is a few more but it looks like you spent some time on this so I wont get to picky .

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    If anyone's mind isn't eased by this analysis well, I don't know what to say. I still can't believe Tbird isn't on someone's NBA payroll.
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Magnificent work as always.

    I also call for a weekly or monthly "Tbird Speaks" column stickied to the top or made as a menu option.
    BillS

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Just for the record, I'd like to profess my undying love for Luis Scola. I think he's an underrated player. I think getting rid of Scola is probably one of the great regrets of Greg Popavich's career.

    If Hansbrough is ever as good as Scola, which I believe he could be, then this pick is an absolute home run.

    Warning: Controversial statement that I don't feel like debating.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    My apologies if this has been posted elsewhere. But I have been caught up in the "THs not athletic-enough" mood until I read this Chad Ford article after the combine...his skills/measurements stack up with a lot of great players...and no one questions that his work-ethic far exceeds many of them. Again, my apologies if someone posted this elsewhere:


    For all of you who wrote me all season furious that I didn't have Tyler Hansbrough in my mock draft lottery … now's the time to yell, "I told you so!"

    I think it's time to declare Hansbrough the big winner of the 2009 NBA draft combine. While he was what you'd expect him to be in the skills portion of the combine, he came out better than expected in the measurements and strength and agility testing.

    Hansbrough measured a legit 6-foot-8 in socks and 6-9 in shoes. He also had a surprising 6-11 wingspan and a standing reach of 8-10 -- one inch better than Blake Griffin.

    He basically measured the same size as Kevin Love, Drew Gooden, Paul Millsap and David Lee.

    But that's just half the tale.


    His vertical-jump numbers weren't terrible, either. At 34 inches he matches up with the combine scores of Emeka Okafor, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nene. And better than Chris Bosh.

    His no-step vertical was a little more troubling at just 27 inches, but that equaled or bettered Carlos Boozer, Aldridge and Charlie Villanueva.

    Lateral quickness? His 11.12 score was stellar for a big man. He bested Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson and Earl Clark from this draft class. And he also was better than Amare Stoudemire, Bosh and Tyrus Thomas.

    And his 3.23 three-quarter-court sprint? Another strong score for a big man. His numbers were better than Griffin, Jordan Hill, and Michael Beasley.

    In fact, if you want a good comparison physically and athletically to Hansbrough, try Beasley, the No. 2 pick in the draft last year. They are within an inch and a few half-seconds of each other in virtually every category.

    What does all this mean? We already know Hansbrough is a terrific basketball player. There was never a question about what he does on the court. The concern was always about his lack of size and athleticism.

    Now that he has physically proved he's a solid NBA-caliber athlete, will the objections to drafting him in the lottery start to fade?

    Some early signs point to yes. I think a number of teams, including the Bucks, Nets and Pacers, will all give Hansbrough a closer look.

    "I think we have to re-evaluate him," one lottery GM told me. "You get used to seeing a guy through a certain set of glasses. This forces you to rethink and ask yourself whether you misjudged him. I think if you need a big, you have to consider him."

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    It's funny that I think TBird and I see a lot of the same things, but disagree on how much those will change over time.

    At Tyler's age (24 at the start of the season) I question just how much his game will now change. It just stayed identical for 4 years straight, so I consider it wildly optimistic to expect some new jump in a less coaching friendly NBA environment and schedule. Sure TH will work on his own and guys like Granger show you can improve, but you also need PHYSICAL gifts.

    As much as effort is a "skill", it actually brings a negative connotation to this conversation. If a player is driven to always improve and spends 4 years in a great program with a great coach but doesn't become significantly better or different in that time frame, then why would he suddenly find room to improve now?

    "Potential" guys are young, haven't been well coached, weren't very motivated prior to this point and are ripe for improvement. Tyler is not at that stage. 3 years ago he was at that stage.

    My point is that Tyler is lacking a lot of moves and skills right now and it's NOT from a lack of effort or coaching quality. Uh oh.


    Foster is explosive and was much more so a few years ago. He had the quickest vert on the team. Dale was an explosive leaper too. So forget those players. Both had a deft touch to their vert as well which meant they didn't have to jump/bull into players in pursuit of the ball.


    I find that Tyler does not make clean, solid engagements during screens or picks. Often he is too interested in breaking from it to get into his pop placement which can leave your guard trapped to the point of not being capable of getting a solid return pass back to the pop man. As physical and bullish as Tyler is inside, on the outside he's half the physical presence that Blair is.

    Ultimately I think a great deal of Tyler's energy game is the bullish quality that Tbird mentions; he enjoys the contact. Critics of his college game (ie, Duke fans) see him headed for a rude awakening when he stops getting the foul calls his way. I'm not in that arena completely, but I do think it's a concern. If he is going to bruise he'll need to be sure to do it with craft. In this way I find him lacking compared to similar close to the floor bigs, Blair and Love.

    He has also mentioned developing a 3. And when putting this together with TBird's analysis a new name jumped to mind. Brian Cardinal. Energy, takes charges, scrappy, physical, motor always on. It earned him a big contract back when PFs with a 3 were all the rage, but now he's considered a deep bench guy or a contract to be moved.

    Cardinal's top end was 9/4 in the 20-25 mpg range. 3 times he's played at least 58 games. He once made 55 threes on 44% shooting. He's basically even on AST/TO, a possible 1 per game steals guy and zilch on blocks. Not considered a great defender or particular weapon in any area.

    Sorry to say but a lot of his strengths and style seem to match TH. For our sake I hope it doesn't pan out that way.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Seth, I think your criticism of TH is bordering on unreasonable. Brian Cardinal? Really? A guy that averaged 13 PPG in college compared to one of the most highly decorated players in NCAA history? Not to mention the fact that their games were not very similar (college-wise).

    It's like you're only looking for fault just like others on this board (uber-optimists) are only looking for greatness. Ultimately I think Hansbrough will become what we thought he was - not great, not bad but damn solid. I have a feeling you're being contrarian on purpose here. I'm concerned for you.
    Last edited by rexnom; 06-29-2009 at 11:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    I think it's time to declare Joe Alexander the big winner of the 2008 NBA draft combine.
    Fixed, as a warning. When you are ranked lower DURING GAMES for months, even years in a row and then suddenly all of that is forgotten during the combine and chair workouts I don't think it's a positive sign.

    Consider it this way - did Tyler not have these same measurements and physical abilities in March? Feb? He's got X span and Y vert, great, but he had those tools DURING GAMES. It is the APPLICATION of the skills and abilities that matters most.

    If you take the decision making out of it by saying "stand here and jump, run there and cut, dribble around those cones" then you are removing a key element in physical ability. It's the abilty to change your intended motion on the fly and have your body respond to that request in a timely fashion that makes you truly "quick".

    A great leaper can be pinned to the floor with a good shot fake, or can jump into a foul instead. It's the application of that vert that is critical.

    The problem with most drills is they don't challenge the abilities under improvisation situations, and no game requires that ability more than basketball. When faced with unexpected challenges players run home to familiar tatics or show their weaker underbelly, at least if they aren't deft in the area of mental-physical linking.

    A player can show 10 types of ball handling moves. But in a game when he is forced to choose the correct one to use in a split second it won't matter one bit that he can make that move if he chooses the wrong one or outright hesitates.

    An example from a player I'm not thrilled with but did this well - Maynor was pressed while catching a long backcourt pass. He turned out of the catch to find himself with a defender right up on him. Instantly he whipped the ball around behind his back coming right out of the catch and went by the defender nearly unhindered. It's instinctive at that point. He had the move and his brain told him to go into that specific move without pause.

    But at a combine 10 other PGs can show the same move when requested to do so. Most of them are going to end up with a charge when pressed the same way Maynor was despite that ability.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Hansbrough won an NCAA title last year. He set a goal to win the title and accomplished that. The kid is a champion.

    Brandon Rush was also an NCAA champion and the 13th pick 2008. He turned out just fine last season.

    I do not see Tyler getting that many minutes @ all next year. We all know JOB's philosphy on rookies getting minutes and Murphy had a career year last season. If Tyler develops at an alarming rate Murphy's days as a Pacer are numbered though.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Oh hypothetical debate that won't be resolved for another few years or so, how I love thee.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    thanks tbird!!!!! and i agree with aba days...you should be on a nba payroll!!
    I CANT SPELL!

    THERE ARE THOSE THAT HAVE AND THOSE THAT WILL!

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Wow, T-bird, that was great stuff. It's enough even to sway me from the pessimist to a cautious optimist.

    With regard to Seth's concern about developing significant skills past age 24-- I think that sometimes you don't work much on a skill until you need to. He hasn't needed a a fadeaway jumper to create space- he was big enough to go up in college and not get in blocked. There are plenty of examples of guys even having been in the league for several years re-working certain specific aspects of their game.

    Though I hate to call up all-time greats for examples, guys like Bird and MAgic improved tremendously long after entering the league. For example, Magic's outside shot was a joke when he started out, and Larry came up with lots of fadeaways to create the space he needed to score in the post.

    Magic at age 28 had spent 9 years in the league and never shot over 22% from 3-point range. sUDDENLY IT ALL CHANGED: By age 30 he shot 5 times as many three pointers and made almost 40% OF THEM.

    There are other examples of lesser players that improved a great deal. I remember the PG Eric Snow who was a 4-year collegian at MSU shot free throws far worse that Shaq. Something like 14% one year! Besides free throws you could literally give him any uncontested shot over 12 feet at MSU and he was no threat.

    Despite Eric's stellar defense and floor genral ability, his shot was so bad I thought it was crazy he was drafted. That was a tremendous weakness he worked on and he went from a 59% free throw shooter as a rookie to a peak of 86% as a full-time starter for good 76er teams. He never became a three-point shooter but his midrange game had to be respected and he would not have had a 13-year career if he had not been able to totally change that aspect of his game long after the time frame when players are expected to develop new skills.
    Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 06-29-2009 at 12:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    Joe Alexander:

    1) He's more of a tweener 3/4 than a PF
    2) He's smaller than Tyler
    3) Why are we throwing in the towel on that kid one year in?
    4) Besides, people who don't like Tyler should love Joe because according to Draft Express he has HUGE UPSIDE (AKA POTENTIAL)!!!!!111

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: An in depth study of Tyler Hansbrough

    If Tyler could evolve into a Luis Scola-like dude, that would be spectacular. I'm not as 'cautiously optimistic' as PacerTom or Tbird that it will happen but I certainly would love to be wrong.

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