NBA Roundtable

Sophmore Brandon Rush Aricle

In General NBA on October 21, 2009 at 10:50 am

The Indy Star reports

The way Brandon Rush finished last season is the way the Indiana Pacers think he’s capable of starting this one.

Slated to start at shooting guard, Rush finished an up-and-down rookie season on a tear.

In his final 13 games, Rush averaged 16.9 points and missed scoring in double figures only once.”If he plays like he did that last month, we’ll be a very, very good basketball team,” said All-Star forward Danny Granger, the Pacers’ leading scorer last season. “He was scoring the ball. He was defending. He was playing very, very well.”

Rush scored 20 points once in his first 65 games as a rookie. He hit for more than 20 points five times in his final 10 games, including the final three.

He scored his career high of 29 points in consecutive games, at Chicago on March 28 and at Conseco Fieldhouse in a win over Washington the next night.

“He was nothing short of great in that last month,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “To have someone play great basketball is huge. We need him to play like a veteran even though he’s only in his second year.

“We need a consistent performance. He doesn’t have to average 20 points a game, but if he’s going to get 25, 30 minutes a game, we’d like to see him in double figures and defend at a high level.”

Obie continues by describing Brandon’s game offensively

“Brandon’s a good movement guy,” O’Brien said. “He’s got speed. He’s a really good slasher. If we come down and take challenged shots after one or two passes, you don’t have the ability to use Brandon as well as he needs to be used.”

Brandon Rush

Brandon Rush’s splits from March + April while starting for the Pacers

  • Games — 12 games
  • Minutes — 36 minutes per game
  • Points — 17.4 points per game
  • Scoring consistency — Rush broke the 20 point barrier five times. He was only in single digits once. The other six games he was between 10-15 points. So he was up and down like a yo-yo. Highly inconsistent which doesn’t bode well for him in the immediate future.
  • Rebounds — 5.2 boards per game
  • Assists — 1.1 dimes per game — so not involved as a passer, at least not in terms of creating shots for others.
  • Defense — Rush played solid defense for most of the season and has very good defensive potential as a point guard. He’s also capable of defending the SF position at a comparable level.
  • Scoring Efficiency — Rush shot 89-156 from the floor (13 shots a game) for a field goal percentage of 57%. He also shot 22-52 from three point range (4.3 threes per game) for an accuracy rate of 42.3%. Rush also got to the line 11 times and made 9 of his 11 FTs (one FT per game). Only eleven FTs for 150 shot attempts is very poor. Rush posted a true shooting percentage of 64.6%.
    • Clearly, Rush will not be capable of sustaining those shooting percentages. He’s too reliant on his jumper to maintain that sort of consistency. But Rush is a good shooter who is capable of being above average in scoring efficiency.

In other words, Brandon Rush was a good scorer who relied on his teammates to create shots for him while using his movement off the ball to assist the situation + was a solid defender + was a very good rebounder for a two guard. That combination of contributions is quite valuable.

If Brandon Rush can reproduce that form over the next season then Indiana will be sitting pretty near the end of the season.

Summary

Anyway, I just wanted to highlight how well Brandon Rush was playing towards the end of last season when given an opportunity. That shows some of the potential that he clearly has.

I’m unsure what to expect from Rush in his second campaign mainly because I see no stability in his minutes. A lot could happen with the Mike Dunleavy recovery situation + Dahntay Jones may steal that starting position. So who knows how much Rush plays this season?

I’d be more optimistic about his improvement if he was going to get a consistent 30+ minutes a night rather than a 20 minute per game role.

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