By Alex Moss on July 28, 2014
Swingman Brandon Rush rejoined the Golden State Warriors this offseason after a stint with the Utah Jazz. The Dubs' front office is hoping that Rush is able to provide value in their rotation and add some firepower off of a lackluster bench. If the Warriors want to raise their bench’s profile, here are five things Rush needs to improve.
Rush is a proven threat beyond the arc, and to maximize that threat, he must show the ability to blow by the defense if his defender closes in on him too fast. Rush takes about half of his shots from three-point range, and he needs to show that he is a versatile scorer who can hurt the defense in multiple ways.
At 6-foot-6, Rush is small for the small forward position but will likely play a fair share of his minutes there in small-ball lineups. The Warriors' bench ranked in the bottom half of the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding, and they need to improve that number to make up for poor shooting percentages. If Rush can improve his rebounding at a position where rebounding is a premium, the Dubs would be in good shape.
The Warriors lack a true point guard on their bench with Shaun Livingston running the point, meaning the bench needs a secondary ball handler to ensure ball movement on offense. Rush has never averaged more than three assists per 36 minutes, and he turns over the ball on a disproportionate amount of possessions. Rush must improve his ball handling if the Dubs’ bench offense is to run smoothly.
For a wing player with a deadly three-point shot, Rush is a terrible free throw shooter. Rush has never shot above 80 percent on his free throws and shot only 60 percent last season. If Rush improves his free-throw percentage, he will feel more confident in driving to the basket and drawing fouls.
This should be written in all capital letters with an exclamation point at the end – Rush has been an abysmal defender for most of his career. His on-ball defense, including his inability to create turnovers and stay in front of his man, has been the main reason Rush has struggled to maintain a spot in his rotations. While Livingston will able to cover Rush’s man occasionally, the bench will be much stronger if Rush is not a defensive liability.
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