One of the toughest things to do with the 2014 NBA free agency class at the moment is find bargains. While teams wait for the stars to decide where they want to finish their careers role players like Jodie Meeks and C.J. Miles are cashing in and getting contracts that were higher than anyone could have predicted before things started. Even Ben Gordon, a player that seemed on his wait out of the league after two years of arguing with coaches and not playing, received a two-year $9 million contract to play for the Orlando Magic.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t players that could be bargains for teams going forward though. A few days ago we had a post looking at Chris Douglas-Roberts as a potential fit if the team needs to stay cheap and flexible going forward. Today we take a look at Brandon Rush, a player who just a few years ago was one of the best three-point shooting threats in the league when he knocked down 45 percent of his 219 three-point attempts for the Golden State Warriors.
The questions with Rush, and what will allow him to be had for so cheap, center around his recovery from a major knee injury in 2012. Just two games into the season Rush drove to the rim and attempted to dunk on Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph before coming down awkwardly and suffering a gruesome knee injury. Before the injury Rush was on his way to being one of the better three-and-D type players in the NBA, thanks to good athleticism and a 6’11” wingspan that more than made up for his 6’6” frame at small forward. On offense Rush was an elite knock-down perimeter shooter from just about any place on the floor. Below is the shot chart from the last full season Rush played in the NBA:
Last season was the first full year for Rush since the injury and he wasted it away by sitting on the bench for most of the year in Utah where the Jazz were more worried about getting minutes for young players like Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks then getting Rush back to his old self. Rush appeared in just 38 games for Utah and played just 418 total minutes in those appearances that came spread out throughout the year. It wasn’t ever really enough for Rush to feel comfortable on the floor coming back from a major injury and it showed in his shooting percentage, as he knocked down a career low 34 percent of his 47 three-point attempts.
Now Rush is over a year removed from the surgery and should start seeing a bigger rebound to his pre-injury self. Rush probably won’t ever be the complete player he once was but in New Orleans he wouldn’t need to be. If the Pelicans could get 15 or so minutes a night from Rush of knock down shooting and activity on defense it would be a terrific get. With Omer Asik and Anthony Davis forming a frightening rim protecting duo on defense, Rush won’t necessarily need to be the stopper he once projected to be on defense. If he can not get lost off the ball and help rebound a bit he would be a great addition to the Pelicans for a very cheap price.
If things don’t work out for Rush at least it won’t cost much. In an NBA where you can never having enough shooing taking a chance on a guy who shot 45 percent from three just three years ago for the veterans minimum makes all the sense in the world.