NBA mailbag: Should Rush start at small forward?

NBA mailbag: Should Rush start at small forward?
August 17, 2012, 5:56 pm
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Mailtime Brandon Rush as a starter, your thoughts? Jason,San Francisco.Steinmetz: You know what? I wasnt giving Rushmuch of a shot at being the starting small forward until he said that was hisgoal a couple of weeks back. Rush provided a legitimate spark off the bench forthe Warriors a year ago, and a safe assumption would be hed have the same rolethis year.But the more I think about it, the more I think its apossibility.Conventional wisdom is that rookie Harrison Barnes or perhaps Richard Jefferson will stepinto the starting small forward role. Butmaybe Barnes wont be ready to be a full-time starter on Day 1. And maybeJefferson isnt the best option there, either.Rush is the best 3-point shooter of that threesome and hesalso got the potential to be the best defender of the three at least earlyinto the season with Barnes still getting his feet wet.Another thing to keep an eye on is that the one thing coachMark Jackson seems to covet in his lineup is toughness. Its why DominicMcGuire had such a big role on the team last season, and its why Rush couldemerge as the starter at small forward.Its not that Rush is a defensive stopper, but on manynights hell give the Warriors their best shot at defending competent andathletic opposing small forwards.Do you think Bob Myers really needed to clarify hiscomments about Mark Jackson and the team earlier this week? Trapped, BayArea.Steinmetz: Not really, and I dont think he wouldhave had I not asked him directly about it.But I have no problem with Myers reaching out to Jacksonafter realizing that what he said might have not come out perfectly.The whole quote about giving Jackson something to workwith and that the team should be improved -- was much ado about nothing. AllMyers said was that he felt like the organization had given Jackson more towork with this upcoming season than it did last season, and that he expectedthe results to be different.The life span of most NBA coaches is not a long one. Factsare facts and there just arent many coaches who can survive consecutive losingseasons. Its the nature of the business.Injuries or no, the Warriors are coming off a 23-43 season,and they have way more talent this season than last. It only stands to reasonthat everyone is expecting bigger and better things in 2012-13.If the Warriors dont make the playoffs this season it willbe disappointing. And if that does happen, it only makes sense to take a lookat what went wrong whether its front office moves, team chemistry orcoaching.Could the Warriors start Jarrett Jack in thepreseason and see how it goes? Seems like it would be smart to work Curry inslowly. Scott, Bay Area.Steinmetz: I just cant see that happening. Thefocus of Currys entire rehab was to have him 100 percent by training camp, andit looks like thats going to happen. If Curry is healthy, he has to be yourstarter, and here are the reasons:First, youve got to find out more about him as a player.Does he have the potential to be an upper-tier point guard long-term? ManyWarriors fans believe he does, and so this would be the year for Curry to provethat.The only way hes going to prove that is if hes gettingstarters minutes and hes healthy.WATCH: Curry on his health: 'I feel great'
Secondly, if you want to have any chance of re-signingCurry, hes got to be the starter. Why would Curry want to re-sign in GoldenState if hes playing behind Jarrett Jack?Look, there are plenty of people out there who believe Curryis best-suited to be a sixth man, or the first guard off the bench. But itstoo early in his career for Curry to concede that, and you cant blame him forthat.Theres no doubt the Warriors should monitor Currys minutesthis season after coming off an injury plagued 2012-13. But that can happenwith Curry being the starter.The bottom line is if Jack starts ahead of Curry, I thinkyou could safely say that Currys days in Golden State are numbered then.The NBA is a joke. Just say it: Three teams have achance next year. Thats it. NBA is horrible. Vic, Bay Area.Steinmetz: I dont think its a joke, but I dothink the NBA is going to have to figure this super-team thing out. One of thereasons the league and teams gave for locking out the players last year was torestore some kind of competitive balance. But, in essence, the new CBA didnothing to address that.Every player in the league knows that in order to win atitle, youre going to have to go through Miami at this point. Well, the onlyway youre going to beat Miami is to assemble a team with at least two eliteplayers. Thats what the Lakers tried to do by getting Howard.Its what the Nets are trying to do find someone to playalongside Deron Williams. Its why Dallas had Dwight Howard and Williams ontheir radar before free agency.Id say, however, that more than three teams can win thetitle, but its not much more than that. Id give Miami, San Antonio, theLakers, Oklahoma City, Boston and perhaps even the Clippers a shot to win itall.

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