According to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Rusty Simmons, Brandon Rush intends to play an increased role for the Warriors this season.
Rush said he’s coming to camp with his sights sets on starting at small forward.
— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) August 1, 2012
Well, you can’t accuse Rush of lacking confidence.
After a career year with the Warriors in 2011-12, Rush was the team’s top offseason priority. Because of the tricky restricted free agency dance, which involves a lot of bluffing and posturing about what offers a team is willing to match, Rush ended up being the Warriors’ final roster addition when he signed a two-year, $8 million deal on July 31.
To this point, the Warriors certainly haven’t announced a starting lineup (probably because training camp won’t open for weeks), but conventional wisdom has the Warriors slotting either rookie Harrison Barnes or veteran Richard Jefferson as the starter at the 3. But Rush’s intention isn’t all that crazy if you think about it.
After all, he was the Warriors’ most effective bench player last year. His three-point shooting prowess, length and athleticism make him a solid option on both offense and defense. Plus, at age 27, he’s very much in his prime.
Still, the Warriors will probably be plenty satisfied if Rush merely repeats his performance from last year off the bench. They’d rather have Barnes, who is more well-rounded than Rush and has a higher ceiling, win the starting role. If Barnes falters, the Warriors would probably turn to Jefferson next. His experience will be important for an otherwise young set of wing players.
Rush should want to start. And he should have the confidence to believe he can. But it’ll be important for him to keep his desires and his self-assuredness from turning into discontent. It’s unlikely that he’ll win the starting job, but he’s not wrong for wanting it.