Notebook: Ben Hansbrough hopes his vibe is contagious
In search of something to bring life to the second unit, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel promoted Ben Hansbrough to backup point guard yesterday.
When Hansbrough made the training camp roster, it initially looked like a favor. That is, until you saw him compete.
Like his older brother, Tyler, Ben has a high motor and is very competitive. Coaches have praised his work-ethic, which the younger Hansbrough says will continue no matter where he is on team’s depth chart.
“I always try to prepare myself everyday to be the best player I possibly can be,” Ben Hansbrough said Tuesday. “The only difference I feel like right now from where I was a week ago, is I have an opportunity. But I’ve always still prepared myself mentality. I still go through my same routine I go through everyday. So things are the same, it’s just now I’ll be on the court.”
So what might success on the court look like? The team is wanting to minimize the drop-off when the second group checks in because so far, they haven’t been able to sustain what the starters have done. Often times, the Pacers’ opponent has made a big run when coach goes to his bench to allow his starters a brief rest.
“I’m going to try to just bring my intensity. I think, a lot of times, vibes like that are contagious. (I’ll) try to get other people going, get the second unit playing a lot harder and help them in ways I can.”
That’s the mindset he has to have. Provide energy off the bench, keep his teammates engaged, and play his game.
“I want to see his defensive intensity, which I think is a strength of his,” Vogel said of Hansbrough. “And I want him to play within himself on the offensive end–knock down the open shot but not try to do too much.”
Sidenote: Wednesday will be the first time the Hansbrough brothers have played together competitively since 2005, when they won their high school state championship.
More Changes Coming?
Coach Vogel didn’t entirely blame D.J. Augustin, who was replaced by Ben Hansbrough on the second unit, but said it was his hope that the move will jolt the entire bench.
“D.J. being pulled out of the rotation isn’t indicative that he was the guy that was not playing at the highest level,” Vogel explained. “They all weren’t. We’re gonna make one change and see how it works.”
He’s also hoping it will light a fire under Augustin, who signed a one-year deal with the Pacers in the offseason. All his numbers have dipped down to career-lows, and he hasn’t looked comfortable or confident on the court. He’s averaging 3.2 points and 2.3 assists while shooting just 26.6 percent from the floor.
Coach Vogel and his staff have also contemplated other moves. There’s a possibility that they may give Jeff Pendergraph or Miles Plumlee a chance because Tyler Hansbrough has also struggled to produce. In his last five games, he’s failed to score twice and finished with two points in two other games.
“We need all ten guys that are in the rotation to play at a high level.”
The promotion of Ben Hansbrough is just a short-term fix. How will Ben play, how will Augustin respond to the demotion and are any other changes necessary? Those are just some of the questions the coaching staff has for their 10-11 bunch.
NBA TV at Practice
NBA Entertainment had a television crew at practice on Tuesday to record a feature on the Hansbrough brothers. It’s rare that two brothers are in the NBA together and especially rare that they’re on the same team. The crew interviewed the brothers and their teammates to hear about the situation, how they’re alike (and different), and how their closeness helps the team. The NBA TV producer wasn’t sure when it would air, but said it may be soon due to Ben’s promotion to the second unit.
Stephenson is Fine
Lance Stephenson was involved in a very minor car accident on Monday around 6 pm. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital as a precaution and was later released. Stephenson failed to stop in time and hit the car in front of him, who was driving without a license, per the police report.
Stephenson practiced Tuesday and is “completely fine,” according to Vogel.