It was a sad moment for the Golden State Warriors when their key backup Brandon Rush went down hard in their home opener last season which resulted in a torn ACL in his left knee. As soon as he hit the ground, he was in clear pain and was yelling, screaming and pushing off his fellow teammates that came to assist him. It was a grim scene, but one that the Warriors have move passed.
It’s sad to say that the injury of one of their essential players turned out to be a good thing, but that’s how I view Rush’s setback.
Rush, the Warriors’ backup shooting guard/small forward, averaged 9.8 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game while dishing out 1.4 assists per game in 2011-2012, which was his first year with Golden State. The 2012-2013 season was supposed to be a further advancement in his career, but his horrific injury stood in the way.
However, with Rush’s injury, it forced the other Warriors to step up and play even better. Especially guys like Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green.
Barnes was the starting small forward since their first game of the season, but when the team’s best swingman went down, it forced Barnes to produce even more by logging even more minutes.
As for Green, the second-round draft pick, he had to be ready and jump into the off-the-bench role and spark the team whenever he came onto the floor. He did a very good job in doing so, and continued to provide the team with defensive and emotional intensity as soon as he checked into the game.
For Barnes, it was a bit of a different story. He was relied upon to provide more of an attacking contribution, such as scoring points and dishing out assists, but Barnes excelled in doing so. He averaged just under 10 points per game in the regular season, but when the postseason came around, it was a whole new scenario.
Barnes became one of the Warriors’ top scoring options during playoff time, as he averaged 16.1 points per game in 12 postseason contests. He really showed that he can step up and be the offensive presence that his team needs, and it was great to watch it all take place.
Barnes and Green really broke through their shells through Rush’s injury, and again, in no way am I supporting his gruesome knee injury. But the two rookies’ confidence levels shot through the roof when the team depended on them more and more, and that is part of what helped them become complete basketball players.
It will be very interesting to see how Barnes, Green, and Rush will synergize together next season, but fans should expect them to work well together and share contributing roles.