Former Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough appears to be getting it done in the NBA much to the surprise of blowhards like ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd who said the UNC legend would never amount to anything in the NBA. If you have followed Hansbrough's career you know he sat out most of his rookie season with a variety of ailments from a shin issue to vertigo. Now with a clean bill of health and a head coach who will actually play him, Hansbrough is posting some fairly impressive numbers.
On Tuesday night, Hansbrough posted a career high 30 points versus New York two days after posting 29 against those same Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It was the fifth game in a row Hansbrough scored 20 or more points and his tenth straight in double digits. For the month of March, which covers nine games, Hansbrough is averaging 20.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.3 spg in 32 minutes per outing. Here is a breakdown of Hansbrough stats by month this season.
October(3 gms): 21.5 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 50% FG
November(13 gms): 14.5 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 53% FG
December(15 gms): 9.0 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 22% FG
January(14 gms): 22.3 mpg, 12.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 49% FG
February(13 gms): 23.4 mpg, 11.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 39% FG
March(9 gms): 32.0 mpg, 20.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 51% FG
Season: 20.4 mpg, 10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 46% FG, 80% FT
Hansbrough's minutes were hurt earlier in the season by former coach Jim O'Brien's insistence on not playing him and starting former Duke player Josh McRoberts. When O'Brien was fired, Indiana's interim coach Frank Vogel started off by bringing Hansbrough off the bench for offense then ultimately made him a starter displacing McRoberts. Yes, McRoberts has had Hansbrough showing him up his whole career. The move appears to have paid off. With the additional minutes, Hansbrough is putting up points and apparently really loves playing against the Knicks.
When Hansbrough came out of college most people, myself included, thought he could have a decent career especially if he found a niche. That being said, at the time I also thought it would be foolish to underestimate a guy who works as hard and much on his game as Hansbrough does. At least for now it appears that hard work is paying dividends and Indiana is in a fight for a playoff spot. There is no way of knowing whether the current numbers Hansbrough is putting up will be the norm or if it will balance out with a larger sample size. I would lean towards the latter in that respect however I still think Hansbrough can be a solid contributor in the NBA. Also remember this is basically Hansbrough's rookie season since he did not play much a year ago so there is plenty of room for development.
In other 2009 UNC team news Danny Green has signed on with the San Antonio Spurs after putting up some impressive numbers in his NBDL stint. Meanwhile in Denver the Ty Lawson/Raymond Felton point guard combo is working out quite well. The duo combined for 45 points and 22 assists in a win over Chris Paul and New Orleans on Sunday.
UPDATE: Tyler Hansbrough dunking on Amare Stoudemire last night. Nasty.