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MyFavMartin
01-17-2008, 07:23 PM
www.nba.com/pacers/news/rush_080117.html

Defense, of all things, keys Rush’s rise

By Conrad Brunner | Jan. 17, 2008 When Kareem Rush was considering signing a free agent contract with the Pacers this past summer, he met with Coach Jim O'Brien to gauge his prospects for playing time.

"When I sat down with Kareem," O'Brien said, "I told him there was 'an unbelievable opportunity for you to become a key part of this franchise. We aren't bringing you in to come off the bench. If you can earn a starting job by defending, you're going to get it.' "

Though Rush's reputation is built almost exclusively on his long-range shooting ability, defense is precisely why he was promoted when O'Brien opted to go with a small lineup four games ago. Rush showed he hasn't lost his shooter's touch in Wednesday's 125-117 comeback victory over Golden State, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, including four 3-pointers.

"My main focus is to help the team in any way I can and right now it's primarily on the defensive end," Rush said. "They usually have me matched up against the best perimeter player. If I can add some offense in there that's a benefit. I'm going to try to play hard and try to capitalize on my opportunity.

"It's a good change. I think everybody knows I can score the ball but to be thought of as a defensive player is a positive. I haven't been known for defense throughout my career so it's an added advantage for me to go out there and earn some more minutes on the court."

Rush has averaged 12.3 points on .391 shooting overall but .455 (10-of-21) from the 3-point line in four starts. More revealing is that the Pacers have outscored opponents by 25 points with Rush on the floor in that span; when he's been on the bench, Indiana has been outscored by 23.

"I'll give it from (assistant coach) Dick Harter's perspective," said O'Brien. "He thinks that Kareem has become our best defensive player. He does everything tough, he's hard-nosed, he'll take on Baron Davis or Steve Nash, it doesn't matter. Kareem came here because we told him that we were going to need snipers from outside that shoot the three but the volume of his minutes would depend upon his ability to defend at a level we thought was appropriate. Well, he has exceeded that level defensively to where we can't find him enough minutes. The only time he comes off the court is when he's tired. I need him to be on the court for us."

The evolution into a primary defensive responsibility and the accompanying spot in the lineup has been the latest twist in an unusual season for Rush. A training camp injury set him back and he played sparingly in the first month of the season, playing more than 20 minutes just three times (and scoring in double figures once) in the first 21 games. In the last 19, however, he has become a fixture in the rotation. Rush has played at least 20 minutes in his last 12 appearances and has scored in double figures 12 times in the last 19 games.

"It's been a roller-coaster," Rush said. "I came in here with high expectations but then I got injured but knew eventually my time would come. I stayed patient, continued to work hard in practice and coach gave me an opportunity and I took advantage of it. Now, hopefully I can take advantage of starting."

It's a particularly odd twist that Rush has made more of an impression on the coaching staff with his defense than offense but that doesn't mean he's fallen short as a scorer.

"I think there's been some times he's had some brilliant offensive games," O'Brien said. "I think what you're seeing is a complete player rounding into shape. I think he's playing both ends of the court and that's what you want every player to do."

_________________________

So Rush is now our premier perimeter defender?

CableKC
01-17-2008, 07:29 PM
This brings up an interesting question......are we going to resign him next season?

I'm guessing that the answer is, "for the right price".....but my concern is that without any significant changes made to the roster ( and resulting Salarycap ), we may not have the $$$ to resign him ( assuming that Foster doesn't opt out ).

rexnom
01-17-2008, 07:29 PM
Dick Harter sure does change his mind about who the best defensive player is...

Hicks
01-17-2008, 07:33 PM
I know things could turn back the other way, but I wish the same volume of people who were quick to turn on Kareem when he was playing bad would speak up about how good he is right now, too.

Hicks
01-17-2008, 07:38 PM
Dick Harter sure does change his mind about who the best defensive player is...

The last time I remember him speculating on the best defensive player on the team, was during the preseason.

CableKC
01-17-2008, 07:44 PM
I know things could turn back the other way, but I wish the same volume of people who were quick to turn on Kareem when he was playing bad would speak up about how good he is right now, too.
Although I don't think that I have complained about Rush, Deiner, Harrison or Ike.......this happens with everyone on the roster....especially for those on the end of the bench. Starting with Harrison, then to Diener, then to Rush....all players that were deemed useless....then a change of heart once they got minutes and showed what they have. The current player on the top of the list is Ike whose sitting next to Harrison on our "they can't do anything right" list.

I wouldn't be surprised if in a couple of weeks, if Ike even gets to sniff the Big Man rotation and we get to see the same old Ike that we saw before his injury...that everyone changes their mind about him too.

Young
01-17-2008, 07:50 PM
Kareem has been a big addition.

I thought when we signed him, hey maybe he is a solid player off the bench but I don't expect to much from him. However Kareem has came in here and he has EARNED A starting job. His shooting has became more consistant, although it will probably come and go every shooter has a bad game, but his defense has blown me away. Kareem has really impressed me.

As far as re signing him I think we will. I think he will want to stay here and honestly I don't think he gets more than 3 or 4 million.

I started a thread a while back about the job Larry Bird has done. And sure it makes me very happy that Kareem has worked out but it makes me even more happy because it's a Larry Bird move. It gives me more confidence in Larry.

Interesting to think that the Pacers were thought to be the team that was going to select Kareem in the 2002 draft but instead took Fred Jones. I bet you that if we had taken Kareem, he wouldn't be here right now.

Will Galen
01-17-2008, 09:58 PM
This brings up an interesting question......are we going to resign him next season?

I'm guessing that the answer is, "for the right price".....but my concern is that without any significant changes made to the roster ( and resulting Salarycap ), we may not have the $$$ to resign him ( assuming that Foster doesn't opt out ).

Hoopshype has it wrong, Foster doesn't have an option.

BlueNGold
01-17-2008, 10:06 PM
Kareem has been a big addition.

I thought when we signed him, hey maybe he is a solid player off the bench but I don't expect to much from him. However Kareem has came in here and he has EARNED A starting job. His shooting has became more consistant, although it will probably come and go every shooter has a bad game, but his defense has blown me away. Kareem has really impressed me.

As far as re signing him I think we will. I think he will want to stay here and honestly I don't think he gets more than 3 or 4 million.

I started a thread a while back about the job Larry Bird has done. And sure it makes me very happy that Kareem has worked out but it makes me even more happy because it's a Larry Bird move. It gives me more confidence in Larry.

Interesting to think that the Pacers were thought to be the team that was going to select Kareem in the 2002 draft but instead took Fred Jones. I bet you that if we had taken Kareem, he wouldn't be here right now.

Kareem has certainly made strides. He's better than I expected, particularly on defense. The fact he's the only true SG since Reggie Miller makes him seem even better...and much quicker than all the SF's we throw at the position, who are even fairly large for being SF's.

Unclebuck
01-17-2008, 11:57 PM
I don't believe I ever badmouthed Kareem - I always said that if he got consistant minutes, he would score for us.

But I had no idea he was this good defensively - he is really good.

CableKC
01-18-2008, 12:22 AM
Hoopshype has it wrong, Foster doesn't have an option.
I'm relieved....I really thought that if he was given the chance....he will opt out.

Bridge
01-18-2008, 01:54 AM
I thought Rush should never have been a Laker.

Doddage
01-18-2008, 08:38 AM
So yeah, let's re-sign him.

Putnam
01-18-2008, 08:45 AM
Hooray!

The Kareem Rush Story is the best thing going in Pacer land this season. He was drafted high, he knocked around the league and was then shamefully exiled from the NBA. Now he is back and playing with an appealing combination of heart and skill.

I think it is great stuff. More than just benefiting our team -- it begs to be made into a movie.

Raskolnikov
01-18-2008, 10:02 AM
Hooray!

The Kareem Rush Story is the best thing going in Pacer land this season. He was drafted high, he knocked around the league and was then shamefully exiled from the NBA. Now he is back and playing with an appealing combination of heart and skill.

I think it is great stuff. More than just benefiting our team -- it begs to be made into a movie.
Lol don't take it too far ;)

But it has to be said adding Kareem to the roster has been a good move. I was also surprised by his defense. He's probably best on our team at stayin in front of his man, also better than Danny (who btw gets beaten way to easy sometimes). As far as his shot goes, it's like with Reggie: if he lines up for a 3, you just expect it to go in...

BillS
01-18-2008, 10:13 AM
This sounds like it was taken very much from the interview film they showed during the game, particularly Rush's quote.

Unclebuck
01-18-2008, 10:20 AM
Maybe we should have taken Rush over fred Jones afterall.

Speed
01-18-2008, 10:33 AM
It talks about how he guards Baron Davis and Steve Nash. Wouldn't it be nice if the Pacers PG could guard the other teams PG?

I like Rush, I hope he stays healthy. I believe Shawne was the teams "best defensive player" at one point and he fell out of the rotation, completely.

Rush is a 2 guard and you are right the only legit one since Reggie. So does he seem good because he is actually a 2 or he's a good 2.

I guess overal, I don't think he's all of sudden a lock up defender, but he is good, which your expectations were probably he wouldn't even be good and maybe be a one dimensional shooter.

So, again, I guess its hard to tell, but if he can play even "good" D and shoot like he does, its for sure a nice piece.

But don't you get scared they sign him to a long term contract and the hunger dissipates or an injury that you'd play through before keeps him out, or (insert every bad thing thats happened the last 5 yrs when they sign someone longterm)<INSERT 5 term long someone sign they when years last the happened has that thing bad every>

Will Galen
01-18-2008, 10:44 AM
Here's our free agents list for next year. The only two worth worrying about are JO and Rush. Everyone knows JO has an option. (And as of now he's not likely to use it) We don't have Bird rights on Rush so he can sign with the highest bidder, and I think that is likely. Of course playing time would also effect his decision.

For instant Phil Jackson of the Laker's likes him, and even defended him when Charlotte abruptly cut him last year. So, no doubt the Laker's will have interest. Of course Rush isn't going to play in front of Kobe, so that's good for us.



http://www.eskimo.com/~pbender/contracts (http://www.eskimo.com/%7Epbender/contracts)

Player signed years salary misc FA
Stephen Graham ........ 7/3/07 1 minimum '08
David Harrison ........ 7/7/04 4 $4,429,916 rc '08
Jermaine O'Neal ....... 7/16/03 7 $126,588,000 p-opt '08
Andre Owens ........... 7/3/07 1 minimum '08
Kareem Rush ........... 7/3/07 1 minimum '08

RealGM says we have a team option on Graham.

MyFavMartin
01-18-2008, 12:39 PM
It talks about how he guards Baron Davis and Steve Nash. Wouldn't it be nice if the Pacers PG could guard the other teams PG?


Nash doesn't always guarding the opposing team's PG and he's been an MVP. Not saying that Diener is Nash, but sometimes you take person's strengths and mask his weaknesses with team ball.

Naptown_Seth
01-18-2008, 01:08 PM
I know things could turn back the other way, but I wish the same volume of people who were quick to turn on Kareem when he was playing bad would speak up about how good he is right now, too.
Well it wasn't "quick", he struggled for quite some time as a 3pt specialist. Let's be fair to PD posters/fans, Bird sold us on getting some 3pt ace. Neither Diener nor Rush were hitting that mark and it wasn't just 1 game. It was running into 10-15 or more.

Rush started this month horrible from 3 in fact, so it's not like it's all taken care of on that end.

Defensively even JOB is talking about Rush's development on defense as a surprise and as the article points out his PT has slowly grown to match that.

Plus are you really seeing all these negative comments about Rush anymore? He gets praise for what he does well just like anyone, at least by the core, stable posters who try not to swing too quickly in any direction (but still do, cough Granger is Pippen cough, what idiot said that). :)

The issue with Rush is that they've found themselves lacking on perimeter defense and his quickness and effort have paid off there. I don't think he's an ace solution at that end by any stretch, but unfortunately it's all relative to this roster. Based on that you need him out there a lot.

On Harter, I think he said that Shawne was "one of the best", not "the best". Plus as mentioned Rush has developed into this so Harter wouldn't have said that 2 months ago.

Speed
01-18-2008, 02:38 PM
Nash doesn't always guarding the opposing team's PG and he's been an MVP. Not saying that Diener is Nash, but sometimes you take person's strengths and mask his weaknesses with team ball.

Absolutely, but Deiner is your back up or should be.

Since86
01-18-2008, 03:13 PM
Nash doesn't always guarding the opposing team's PG and he's been an MVP. Not saying that Diener is Nash, but sometimes you take person's strengths and mask his weaknesses with team ball.

Not because of his lack of defensive ability, but because they have big time lockdown defenders in Marion and in Bell.

It's not Nash's fault, but Tinsley doesn't even attempt to play defense some of the time.

naptownmenace
01-18-2008, 05:52 PM
I don't believe I ever badmouthed Kareem - I always said that if he got consistant minutes, he would score for us.

But I had no idea he was this good defensively - he is really good.

Ditto. I've always been a Kareem Rush fan since his senior year in college. I was a little upset that the Pacers took Fred Jones, an obvious tweener, instead of Rush - especially since it was clear that a replacement player for Reggie was needed. Anyway, I was really glad to see TPTB try and correct that mistake (IMO) by signing Rush this past Summer.

I actually expected him to start at the beginning of the season before he got hurt in training camp and I believed he could still shoot the ball. I had no idea he could play any "D" at all, let alone play this well defensively.

He's improved as the season went on, probably as his ankle healed, and his "D" on Monta Ellis and BDiddy was excellent in Wednesday's game. He, JO, and Foster are our key defensive players. Never thought I'd say that.