FanPost

The Hansbrough Gamble

When the Pacers signed Ben Hansbrough before the start of Tyler Hansbrough's contract year, it seemed like a ploy to resign Tyler at a discounted rate. The 15th man on an NBA roster rarely plays, so the Pacers must have felt it was worth a roster spot to try to use Ben as family bait for his older brother. Pay the minimum to the 15th man -- resign the 7th/8th man at a discount. I find it highly unlikely that Ben Hans will ever find himself on an NBA roster again, and the Pacers banked on Tyler realizing this. If he had resigned, I believe they would have retained Ben for the minimum as well.

However, this plan backfired as Tyler is headed to the Raptors on a 2 year deal worth slightly more than $5 Million, and Ben Hansbrough has seen no interest from the Pacers, aside from an obligatory invite to play in their summer league. While I see the logic in this plan, the disaster that was DJ Augustin's 2012-2013 season made this 3rd PG spot more important than it otherwise would have been. For a brief stretch in January/February, Ben was even forced in the rotation --as horrifying as that seems-- in what was clearly only a tactic to motivate DJ Augustin. Ben was terrible for the year, shooting 33% from the field, 26% from three, and 'boasting' an assist-to-turnover rate barely north of one to one.

With Tyler headed to Toronto we can call this what it was -- a wasted roster space. This hurt for a team that needed an NBA-ready 3rd point guard to push DJ Augustin for playing time, or to replace him in the rotation altogether. Would a C.J. Watson / John Lucas caliber backup point guard have made the difference in the Heat Series? It's hard to say, but the gamble on the Hansbrough brothers seems to be the unmentioned management mistake that added to the Pacer's bench problem last year - a problem that proved fatal against Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Ben Hansbrough couldn't even make it overseas, with failed stints for Bayern Munich (waived) and Krka Novo Mesto (left for personal reasons). In the 2012 Orlando Summer League he averaged a paltry 6.0 points, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 rebounds, making last year's contract seem even more ridiculous. With a few solid point guards going undrafted in the 2012 draft, such as Scott Machado (Iona), Tu Holloway (Xavier), and Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin), it seems like Ben Hansbrough only got the nod in the now-failed attempt to retain Tyler on the cheap.

Thoughts?

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