Tyler Hansbrough doesn't want to talk about being in the final year of his rookie contract with the Indiana Pacers.
This may be a make or break year for Hansbrough with the Pacers, but all he's concerned with is doing whatever the team needs him to do to win. Rebound, scoring, hustling after loose balls, whatever needs to be done, that's what Hansbrough wants to focus on.
But heading into his fourth season with the Pacers (third if you subtract time missed for injuries) finding a consistent balance between his aggressive play and positive production for the second unit is certainly a key for the Pacers this season. As Mike Wells reported over the weekend, Frank Vogel expects to see Hansbrough's NBA game mature this year.
"We want to see growth out of Tyler," Vogel said. "Grow his ability to see the floor, make proper passes, to not be predictable in the low post, play without fouling. We do want him to keep his motor right where it's at."
Nowhere in that comment did Vogel say "or else" but that certainly seems to be implied. The Pacers need better production from Hansbrough on a nightly basis to be able to rely on him for the long haul this season, let alone to consider re-signing to a second contract.
While Hansbrough didn't want to talk about himself he did mention that the upgrade in size on the bench, with Ian Mahinmi and Miles Plumlee bringing true center size to backup Roy Hibbert, should help Hansbrough's game with the second unit.
"That is a plus," Hansbrough said about the Pacers adding more size to second unit. "Last year me and Lou were coming off the bench, sometimes playing together and we both pretty much played the same position, so it was tough at times."
Plus, with Gerald Green, D.J. Augustin and even Lance Stephenson, the second unit improve offensively without having to rely on Hansbrough to get buckets. He should be able to focus on those hustle plays and let the offense come to him more often instead of trying to squeeze it out on his own.
That should help the Pacers win more games and in turn, helping the Pacers win more games will help Hansbrough take care of his future.