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Pacers expect boost in intensity, defense from Ben Hansbrough

Ben Hansbrough will bring a different style of game than D.J. Augustin off the bench as backup point guard for the Pacers.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Indiana Pacers reserve guard Ben Hansbrough was a late addition to the training camp roster. With other guards Sundiata Gaines and Blake Ahearn already signed for preseason, Hansbrough's addition to the camp roster appeared to be short-lived. Maybe a favor to big brother Tyler to give his little bro a little more exposure.

Lil' bro had bigger plans though.

It didn't take long before Hansbrough was outplaying his camp competition hoping to land the final spot on the 15-man roster. Then when the preseason games rolled around, Hansbrough seized an opportunity at extended playing time and forced the Pacers to keep him in the fold with his play on the court.

After a lackluster preseason opener on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves, in which B-Hans played just six minutes, the two teams returned to play at the Fieldhouse. Frank Vogel gave Hansbrough the backup minutes and Hansbrough made it tough for Vogel to remove him from the game.

In 24 minutes, Hansbrough score 10 points and delivered seven assists with no turnovers. Plus, he seemed to be everywhere, flashing that familiar familial intensity at both ends of the floor. Hansbrough then locked up a roster spot with 16 turnover-free minutes against the Atlanta Hawks.

Now we'll see if Hansbrough can lift his game to another level to produce during the regular season. Mark Montieth found the Pacers looking forward to Hansbrough helping the second unit improve their defense and intensity. Vogel also indicates he may not be done shaking up the second unit minutes.

"He's a maniac," Hill said. "I never thought I'd see another Tyler Hansbrough, but you see a guard version of Tyler. The passion that Tyler plays with, that's doubled because (Ben's) a smaller size. He's a point guard."

Vogel added that Jeff Pendergraph, who has scored 11 points in 12 minutes this season, also could receive more playing time before long.

"I've seen things from Ben Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph (in practice) that make me think they'll do well when they get the opportunity," Vogel said. "Right now it's Ben's chance to see what he's got. Pendy will get his chance, too, and he'll do well when he gets his chance."

Who knows, maybe Hansbrough will turn into this season's Jeremy Lin, coming out of nowhere to alter the course of his team. Yes, I'm engaging in hyperbolic humor. I'll settle forHansbrough helping the second unit play some even up stretches in the first half to give the starters a break without giving up the lead.

Here is one of the memorable highlights from Hansbrogh's preseason, the timely lob to Gerald Green to help put away the Timberwolves.