Jackson not sweating starter at small forward

October 18, 2012, 5:08 am
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SACRAMENTO Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes started for thethird consecutive preseason game on Wednesday in Sacramento, but coach MarkJackson still says you shouldnt read anything into it.Jackson said he still hasnt made up his mind who will be thestarting small forward come opening night on Oct. 31 against the Phoenix Suns:Barnes or Brandon Rush.Jackson started Rush in the first two preseason games beforegoing with Barnes three straight.Not committed either way right now, Jackson said beforethe Warriors 98-88 victory over the Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Im verypleased with B. Rush and Harrison has done some good things on the floor and iscontinuing to get better. But Im not sold either way. The great thing about itis that both of those guys will have a key part to the success of theteam.After the game, Jackson was asked if either playerdistinguished himself and he made it clear hes not losing any sleep over whowill start.It would be different if the starter was going to play 40minutes and the other guy was going to be lost, Jackson said. Theyre goingto get their minutes and its not really a big deal.When it comes to Barnes and Rush, the reality is theyrelikely to split time at the position. There are 48 minutes to divvy up at thesmall forward spot, and Rush also has shown the ability to play shootingguard.The one thing Jackson has maintained throughout thepreseason is that hell start the player who blends the best with the startingunit. If thats the case, perhaps Rush is a better fit.The reason: Jackson said Rush is his best perimeterdefender.So it would seem to make some sense to have a defensiveplayer in a lineup that also includes point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guardKlay Thompson and power forward David Lee none of whom excel at that end ofthe floor.At the same time, Jackson could alleviate some pressure onBarnes by bringing him off the bench. That also would likely give Barnes moreof an offensive role since he would be more relied upon to score with thesecond unit.Then again, maybe Jackson has a comfort level with Rush as asubstitute. Rush was a major bright spot off the bench last year for theWarriors, putting together a career year in scoring and 3-point shootingpercentage.Barnes, on the other hand, said the last time he came offthe bench was in ninth grade.Said Jackson: We have the luxury of having two guys who canplay Im very pleased with both of them.