The Golden State Warriors made a low risk, high reward move today. They’re bringing back former fan favorite Brandon Rush on a two-year deal, and although this sounds like a pretty low-profile move, Rush could have a serious impact on this Warriors team.
In Rush’s first year with the Warriors during the 2011-12 season, he averaged a career-high 9.8 points and 3.9 rebounds on 50.1 percent shooting from the field, 45.2 percent shooting from three, and 79.3 percent free-throw shooting. He missed almost the entire 2012-13 season with a torn ACL though.
During his time with the Warriors, Rush provided solid three-point shooting off the bench, consistent defense, and some much-needed athleticism. Fans loved his personality, and, obviously, loved his consistent scoring and overall contributions off the bench.
Rush was sent to the Utah Jazz prior to the 2013-14 season in the Andre Iguodala deal. Rush never found his place on the Jazz and was limited to just 11.0 minutes per game in 38 games.
Now back with the Warriors, Rush will bring exactly what the Warriors are desperately lacking right now. The Warriors’ biggest offseason need was finding a backup point guard, which they did by signing veteran point guard Shaun Livingston to a three-year deal. The second biggest offseason need that the Warriors had was adding more backcourt depth, in addition to a backup point guard, in the form of a wing player who could shoot. Enter Rush.
The four things that Rush will bring to the Warriors’ bench are: shooting, defense, athleticism, and energy. Let’s first examine his shooting ability.
As mentioned before, when he was the Warriors’ sixth man in 2011-12, he had impressive shooting numbers. He shot 50.1 percent from the field, 45.2 percent from three, and 79.3 percent from the free-throw line. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson proving that they will drive to the basket more, it’ll greatly benefit the Warriors to have a player like Rush spreading the floor and standing behind the three-point line, so that Curry and/or Thompson can kick it out to him. The Warriors severely lacked shooting off the bench last year, and Rush will provide a big boost in that area.
As for defense, Rush can guard shooting guards or small forwards given his size, and given his length, he can disrupt players when they’re shooting, driving, or passing. A solid perimeter defender on the bench will be a quality asset for the Warriors.
Rush’s ability to shoot will allow him to utilize a pump fake, drive to the basket, and possibly get an open dunk, which he can do given his athleticism. Warriors fans witnessed some entertaining dunks from Rush, especially his dunk on Marcin Gortat and his dunk over Ray Allen. The Warriors lack some athleticism, so Rush and Harrison Barnes add to that and can provide fans with some entertaining dunks.
Lastly, Rush will bring some energy to the bench. He knew how to fire up a Warriors crowd with a big three or a dunk. Warriors fans greatly appreciated Rush’s game and the energy that he brought every night.
A bench unit of Livingston, Rush, Barnes, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli is pretty impressive. There’s a possibility that Rush could be included in a potential trade for Kevin Love, but if he’s not, he will greatly help the Warriors in many different, important ways.