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Hansbrough Gets Chance In Starting Lineup

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

January 6, 2011

So much for the small lineup meaning less playing time for Tyler Hansbrough.

Coach Jim O'Brien said after practice today Hansbrough will start at power forward when the Pacers host the San Antonio Spurs Friday in Conseco Fieldhouse. It will be the first start of the season and second of his young career for Hansbrough.

"It's a chance to go out there and try to help the team," Hansbrough said. "I'm just going to go out there and try to play my game. I'm not going to go out there to try to be impressive or play over my head. I just want to help us win."

O'Brien is seeking improved productivity from the power forward position. Josh McRoberts has started 29 games, averaging 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 21.9 minutes. Hansbrough has appeared in 22 games off the bench, averaging 12.9 minutes, 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds.

"Nobody's doing horribly, we're just not scoring, we're not getting to the foul line," said O'Brien. "Josh is doing a decent enough job but we're not getting the production I need up front. It's not just the (power forward) spot but I'm sticking with Roy (Hibbert) forever. I mean, he's our center.

"So I want to see how Tyler does from a starting job. Josh can be used at the five or the four. We're going more to a small lineup so I want to find out what my best combination is up front. When Tyler has been in the game he hasn't always been with our starting center and I want to see how he does with our starting center, (see) if we can't get more production out of that position."

Hansbrough said he feels comfortable next to Hibbert but that it may take time to develop on-court chemistry with the first-unit perimeter players.

"Roy's one of the guys I feel comfortable with because I played in summer league a couple of years ago and we practice a lot together," Hansbrough said. "The main thing is playing with Danny (Granger) and Mike (Dunleavy) and Darren (Collison). I haven't gotten a lot of run with those guys, so I'm more concerned about that."

Just how long a look Hansbrough will get in the starting lineup remains to be seen but at least he is getting this look.

"I'm just happy to be out there," he said, "and we'll go from there."