And that place might be out in the Land of the Sun where Brandon Rush could become a reliable replacement to the aging and often injured Grant Hill with the Phoenix Suns.
“I’m going to say 15 (to Phoenix),” said
one NBA scout about where Rush might be picked in Thursday’s
NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“He’d be a great fit with (Steve) Nash. Nash would
give him a bunch of jump shots. ... You got Grant Hill there,
who’s kind of at the end of his career. I think
they’d like a guy who can shoot and defend.”
Rush’s stock has been soaring after a great stretch run to
the season and stellar workouts with NBA teams this month.
“He’s ready to play an NBA game today,”
the scout said. “You can put him on the floor and
he’s going to shoot the ball, he’s going to take
good shots, he’s not going to make a whole lot of mistakes.
He can defend his position, and he defensive rebounds. He’s a
safe pick, he’s going to help somebody from day one.
“He’s pretty solid in his workouts. He just does
his thing, he doesn’t try to do anything beyond what he knows
he can do. You just walk away when you watch him work out and (go)
‘that’s an NBA player right
Rush indeed is one of the most ready-made NBA players in the draft. And
he’s recovered nicely from his ACL surgery, which he had last
“I don’t think it’s (athleticism) quite
where it was, but I don’t think it’s (knee) an
issue with him, to be honest with you,” the scout said.
“He’s completely healed. He looked pretty confident
on it the latter part of the year. I don’t think his knee is
a real concern to anybody.”
The scout foresees a bright future for Rush.
“I think he can be a starter in our league,” he
said. “I don’t think he has quite the same
mentality as Bruce Bowen (of San Antonio), but I think he can
be a guy who makes shots and defends the other team’s best
perimeter player. He’s probably going to be a 12 to 15 per
night scorer, get you five to seven rebounds and shoot a good
percentage. I think he’s going to have a long career and be a
very successful pro.”
Rush was criticized at times in college for being too unselfish. But
this scout said that’s a plus entering the NBA.
“I got no problem with him being unselfish like that because
it’s not like he’s going to come in and be the main
man for somebody,” he said. “Those guys that are
selfish, you got to convince them that they’re not going to
get 15 shots a game. It’s guys you want to shoot more that
usually fit in a little easier.”
Rush can definitely shoot the ball, rebound, and defend. But can he
handle the ball well enough at the NBA level?
“It’s not great, but it’s better than
what I thought it was,” the scout said. “Obviously,
he’s not a super confident ball handler, but you can put him
in a position where you don’t ask him to do a lot
of ball handling. If you put a couple of other good ball-handling
guards with him, he can just play off of them and catch and shoot, or
do one bounce left, one bounce right and he’s going to be
The scout said Rush can play both the two guard and the three, but is
probably more a small forward “because a lot of times in our
league, you’ll put them in pick and roll. I don’t
know if Brandon is that good a ball handler that you can do that with
him. He might be in time, but not now.”
Rush will “absolutely” be a better NBA player than
his older brother Kareem, the scout said. Kareem Rush is a five-year
veteran who plays for the Indiana Pacers, with a career scoring average
of 6.9 points per game.
Brandon will certainly score more than Kareem, and the scout said the
younger Rush could even hold his own guarding guys like LeBron James.
“Nobody can guard those guys, but I think he’ll do
about as good a job as you can expect from somebody,” he
said. “I’d have no problems with putting him on one
of those guys.”
The scout likens Rush to NBA veteran Eddie Jones, among others. Jones
is a 16-year player currently with the Dallas Mavericks, who has career
averages of 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 steals.
“That’s probably pretty accurate,” he
said. “We’ve (also) talked about Bruce Bowen. Eddie
Jones and Bowen have a little more feisty personality than Brandon.
Brandon is more laid back. He’s kind of like a Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons small forward) type of personality, but I think
he’s got an Eddie Jones and Bruce Bowen type game.”
Rush’s passive personality doesn’t bother this
“Obviously, you’d like to see a guy with a little
fire with him, but some of the great players in our league
don’t have that,” he said. “Some of those
guys kind of have a quiet competitiveness to them. Tayshaun is a great
example of that. Tayshaun looks like he’s half asleep a lot
of times out there, but he’ll try to rip your heart out.
He’s just doesn’t do it in a demonstrative way. I
have no problem with (Rush’s quiet demeanor).”
This scout has seen Rush play since his days at Mt. Zion Academy in
North Carolina during his senior year of high school. He thought Rush
was an NBA-type player back then. And despite Rush attending four
different high schools, the scout doesn’t see that as a
“Changing high schools can sometimes put your radar up on a
guy, but a lot of times those highly acclaimed kids get pulled around
and pushed around by different people,” he said.
“At the time, they’re not mature enough to know
that they’re being monopolized by some people so
that’s not a huge concern.”
The scout also addressed Rush’s arrest last December for two
outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court for traffic
“The fact he didn’t pay his traffic violations,
that shows a little lack of responsibility,” he said.
“(But) there’s worse things a guy could have been
Overall, the scout has heard superb reports about Rush as a person.
“He’s a really nice kid, personable (and) kind of a
fun-loving guy,” he said. “Everybody on the team
(KU) sounds like he got along with him, really enjoyed him. (It) seems
like he has a good sense of humor.”
After so many stops on Rush’s hoop journey, the former Kansas
star will embark on his next step Thursday night.
And it will be a time of celebration for Rush and his family.
Especially if he goes to the “right team.”
“If he gets with the right team right away, he could
definitely start as a rookie,” the scout said.
Rush With Bright League Future
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