February 20, 2018, 12:56 pm
The Portland Trail Blazers have long sought a viable 3-and-D wing. While Brandon Rush no longer quite fits that description, the well-traveled veteran could still offer Terry Stotts reliable depth on the perimeter his team always seems to lack.
The Blazers signed Rush to a 10-day contract on Monday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 13th pick of the 2008 draft by Portland, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft night, along with Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts, for the rights to Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu.
Rush’s most notable NBA stints came with the Pacers and Golden State Warriors near the top of the decade. He shot a scorching 45.2 percent on 3-pointers, the league’s sixth-best mark, for the Warriors in 2011-12, further staking his claim as one of basketball’s most promising role players given his knockdown shooting ability and defensive versatility. Rush tore his ACL in the 2012-13 season-opener on an and-1 dunk, though, ending his fifth professional campaign essentially before it began – and, more importantly, completely derailing his developmental track.
Rush, whose effectiveness as a defender and rebounder hinged largely on his short-area quickness and explosive vertical oomph, has been unable to regain his early-career form ever since. Golden State brought him back in 2014-15 following one dispiriting season with the Utah Jazz, hoping to reinvigorate a player who seemed to have found an NBA home in Oakland before suffering his injury. It worked, too, at least to the extent expected by realists.
After appearing in just 33 regular season games and three playoffs games during the Warriors’ initial championship run, Rush was a replacement starter for 25 games of their record-setting 73-9 season to follow. His effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot jumpers of 62.3 was second on the team behind Steph Curry’s, and a top-15 clip overall, per NBA.com/stats. Rush reverted back to a full-time bench role for the postseason, though, playing in 14 of Golden State’s 24 games and notching just 28 minutes in the NBA Finals, the vast majority of which came in garbage time.
The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Rush to a one-year, $3.5 million deal in summer 2016, with the expectation he’d provide a young team with not just floor-spacing and defensive awareness, but a steady veteran hand. Instead, Rush never found his footing in Minnesota, posting career-lows in usage – especially debilitating for a player who doesn’t make plays with the ball in his hands – rebounding rate and free-throw rate while generally appearing disinterested.
The Milwaukee Bucks signed Rush to a training-camp deal last fall after he received scant interest on the open market over the summer, but made him one of their last cuts before the regular season.
At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds with a long wingspan, Rush offers the Blazers a combination of size and 3-point shooting acumen no player on the current roster can match. Unless the 32 year old has rediscovered the athletic verve that was a hallmark of his early NBA years, though, it seems extremely unlikely he will break into Stotts’ rotation – whether he remains with the team beyond this 10-day contract or not.
But experienced depth never hurts, especially when the player in question fills a personnel gap that could be widened even further by injury. Evan Turner, for instance, was hobbled before the All-Star break by a nagging calf injury that placed him on a minutes restriction. If he or any other wing is forced to miss time down the season’s final stretch, Rush could certainly come in handy for Portland. Similar logic applies to specific circumstances of time and score, too; having another shooter with size on the floor is always helpful when a team needs to stage a late-game comeback.
More than anything else, though, consider this move further indication of this team’s tenuous grasp on a playoff spot. The Blazers, seventh-place in the Western Conference at 32-26 with the New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers and surging Utah Jazz nipping at their heels, need all the help they can get to emerge victorious from an overcrowded pack of postseason contenders, and Rush, playing for just $119, 602, will certainly provide more of it than an empty roster spot.
July 6, 2020, 11:30 pmDwight HowardC, Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard has decided to play for the resumption of the season in July.
His status was up in the air at first, but he has now decided to play. This was a big redemption year for Howard and it's his best shot at a title since he was on the Orlando Magic so it isn't surprising to see him take advantage of this opportunity.
Source: Shams on Twitter
July 6, 2020, 11:23 pmKyrie IrvingPG, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving's 2019-20 was marred by injuries, limiting him to play just 20 games, but the guard still impressed based on per-game averages, ending the season ranked 6/5 in 8/9-cat scoring formats.
Irving came into 2019-20 with chip on his shoulder, failing to deliver as a leader for the Celtics, both on and off the court. Unfortunately, a myriad of injuries kept him on the sidelines for majority of the season. Out of all them, it was his nagging right shoulder injury that was his biggest bane. It even forced him to undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery to address it. That said, expect that aforementioned chip on his shoulder to still be there next season. We should see more of his improved production from 2019-20 with averages of 27.8 PPG, 2.8 3PG, 5.2 RPG and 6.4 APG on a new career-high shooting of 47.8 percent from the field. Both he and Kevin Durant will be big question marks for the 2020-21, especially when it comes to their health history.
July 6, 2020, 11:08 pmJoe HarrisSF, Brooklyn Nets
Joe Harris had a solid fourth year as a pro in 2019-20, averaging 13.9 PPG, 2.4 3PG and 2.1 RPG on .471 shooting from the field, to finish the season with ranked at 137/140 in 8/9-cat per game value.
Harris saw a slight slide from his 2018-19 production, but it wasn't too bad as he still was able to be a standard-league value player, thanks to his efficient shooting percentages from the field and the line and his respectable 1.5 turnovers per game. Harris remains one of the league's best sources of 3-point shooting without putting fantasy teams' field goal percentage at risk. His role should remain steady in 2020-21, though he could slide below the 30-minute per game mark.
July 6, 2020, 10:27 pmTaurean PrinceSF, Brooklyn Nets
A trade to the Nets in 2019-20 allowed Taurean Prince to bounce back from a disappointing 2018-19 campaign and provide top-150/178 in 8/9-cat per game value.
It wasn't all popcorn and cotton candy for Prince, who, despite being handed the starting PF job, failed to take full advantage of his opportunity to shine. He struggled with a lack of consistency and struggled with his shot, hitting at a dismal .376 clip from the field. In his 29.0 minutes per game, Prince was able to post averages of 12.1 PPG, 2.3 3PG, 6.0 RPG and 0.9 SPG. Sadly, the eventual return of Kevin Durant will surely dampen Prince's outlook for the 2020-21 season.
July 6, 2020, 10:01 pmGarrett TempleSG, Brooklyn Nets
Thanks to his 186/177 8/9-cat per game value and 186/176 value by totals, Garrett Temple was one of the better streaming options in fantasy in 2019-20.
Temple proved to be a sneaky option for many fantasy teams, averaging 28.1 minutes per game and delivering a diverse stat line. He was able to offer up averages of 10.3 points, 2.0 3s, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.8 steals per game. It wasn't all good though, as Temple did hurt teams' field goal percentages with .378 shooting from the field on 9.5 attempts per game. At 34 years of age, this was likely a brave late-career hurrah for the veteran, who should see his role slightly diminished once the Nets are all healthy and playing steady minutes.
July 6, 2020, 9:43 pmSpencer DinwiddiePG, Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points, 1.9 3s, 3.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks in 64 games for 93/155 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
Dinwiddie brought the volume again and benefited from extra playing time with injuries either to Kyrie Irving or Caris Levert. The Nets had trouble finding any consistency from their starting guards in terms of health and we've seen this movie before, Dinwiddie to the rescue. He was far from efficient but you can't find 20 & 7 late in your drafts so he provided a big boost for owners this year. Next year will be a tougher sell for Dinwiddie. He also tested positive for COVID-19 this past week, which means his status for playing during the resumption of the year is in question.
July 6, 2020, 9:40 pmJarrett AllenC, Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen averaged 10.6 points, 9.5 boards, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.3 blocks in 64 games for 114/95 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
Allen showed a lot of promise in his rookie year only to have the wet blanket of the DeAndre Jordan signing to ruin things in fantasy land. With Jordan opting to sit out the resumption of the season, we'll see a lot more Allen at center which is a good thing for everyone.
July 6, 2020, 9:39 pmRodions KurucsPF, Brooklyn Nets
Nets forward Rodions Kurucs saw averages of 4.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.6 threes and 0.4 steals per game on .448 shooting from the field to finish just inside the top-400 in 8/9-cat per-game value.
Kurucs' season was, for the most part, largely unmemorable, highlighted by a 19-point career-high game. He provided the Nets with depth at the forward position but in just 12.8 minutes pr game, Kurucs was unable to properly make an impact in the box scores. With Kevin Durant expected to be ready to play in 2020-21, don't expect on Kurucs to be able to build too much on what he's managed to put up in his humble pro resume.
July 6, 2020, 9:38 pmDeAndre JordanC, Brooklyn Nets
DeAndre Jordan averaged 8.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.9 blocks on .666 shooting for 130/124 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
Jordan signing with the Nets was an immediate nail in the coffin for Jarret Allen to have any chance at increasing his workload and it resulted in two mediocre fantasy seasons. The double-digit rebounds are nice, but outside of that, Jordan provided little else as the field goal percentage wasn't as good as it seemed because he only averaged 8.3 points a night. He'll sit out the resumption which is going to be a theme for older players in non-contending teams.
July 6, 2020, 9:36 pmCaris LeVertPG-SG, Brooklyn Nets
Caris LeVert finished the year averaging 17.7 points, 1.8 3s, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.2 blocks for 132/182 value in 8/9-cat leagues on a per-game basis.
LeVert had injury troubles as well this year (a common theme for the Nets) but he was able to cap off his season with a strong run as one of their primary playmakers. The counting stats are there, but the efficiency wasn't, but that's usually the case with players returning from injury. It's hard to see him keeping up the development as long as Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie handle the ball, but with the resumption throwing things off the rails, we might see some big LeVert games this summer.