After the Warriors traded away Dorrell Wright and drafted the impressive UNC forward Harrison Barnes this summer, most assumed Barnes would take over the starting duties at the 3 spot. However, Brandon Rush is saying not so fast.
Brandon Rush was a stud off the bench for the Dubs in 2012, but apparently he feels he could be doing much more as a starter. I don't know if it's a mindset he's taking into camp or if he really has expectations to breach the starting lineup, but he said recently that he's serious about making a run at the Warriors open small forward spot. Rush scored 10 points per game last season in under 30 minutes a night, but he did a lot more for the Warriors than that. He played solid defense, filled in well at the 2 and 3 spots and was the Warriors most consistent shooter from beyond the arch. However, after seeing Barnes tear it up in Vegas during the NBA Summer League, it really should be the 20 year-old's spot to lose. Barnes does a lot of the same things that Rush does, but has the skill-set to exceed the veteran in just about every category. A lot of NBA pundits picked Barnes as becoming the most impacting NBA player out of the recent draft class, right after Anthony Davis, and I think the Warriors are planning to throw him right into the fire. Unless he absolutely tanks in the preseason, look for him to take that 3-spot by the reigns to start the season.
The one thing that could give Rush an edge though is the Warriors expectations coming into the season. There are a lot of people picking this team to make the playoffs in 2013, and Mark Jackson does like his veterans. If he thinks that Rush will provide better defense and will flow better with the first unit than he very well could choose to at least start games with Rush out there at the 3. When it comes down to it though, Jackson will see that Rush is too valuable of bench commodity, with his versatility and quick production, and will likely look to make Brandon a premiere 6th man.