Brandon Rush is still a member of the Indiana Pacers for one reason — Larry Bird thinks he could be something special.
How good we can debate, but he certainly has the skills to be better than he has shown in his first two seasons. Rush’s name comes up in countless trade discussions, but he has not been moved because Bird believes. You can see Rush being a quality NBA player in the future.
Coaches can’t live in the future, their jobs force them to live in the now. And right now, Rush isn’t helping the Pacers much — and he will miss the first five games of the season due to violating the league’s drug policy.
Along those lines, the brutally honest Pacers coach Jim O’Brien was turned his verbal scalpel on to Rush, in the Indianapolis Star.
“There would be the issue of where he would be in the rotation if he wasn’t suspended. That is an issue separate from the suspension. He has to earn a rotation spot, number one. Number two, clearly he can’t be in it the first five games so I’m thinking in terms of obviously other people.
“And depending on how the other people do in the first five games, we’ll see how he fits back in.”
Danny Granger is the Pacers best option on the wing (by a healthy margin) but they also have Mike Dunleavy, James Posey and rookie Paul George. O’Brien has choices.
O’Brien needs to succeed now, and because of that Rush is going to struggle to find minutes on the wing. No matter how much Larry Bird likes him.
With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.
Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.
Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.
Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.
T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.
Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.
The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.
Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.
Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.
While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.
Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).