Trying to solve the mystery of Brandon Rush is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
His body language and expressions are the same whether he has scored 20 points or missed 10 consecutive shots.
"That's always been me. I never show too much emotion," Rush said. "I never show it when I get down on myself or anything like that. That's always been my personality. It's too late to change me."
His teammates have tried to encourage him only to receive an occasional cold shoulder. His coaches have basically given up trying to flip the right switch. Coach Jim O'Brien can't talk about the second-year swingman without looking flustered or throwing up his arms in annoyance.
What drives those in the organization up a wall is that Rush has as much potential as anybody on the roster.
He starts the game defending players the way LeBron James and Kobe Bryant defend. He can rebound. He can shoot from the perimeter and attack the basket. But he also has had 27 games in which he failed to reach double figures in scoring.
Recently, Rush has found a rhythm offensively. He is averaging 12.7 points over the past 13 games. He has failed to reach double figures in just three of those games. Rush also has made 51 percent of his 3-point attempts in the past nine games.
What brought on the scoring surge?
"We don't know, but we didn't have to do anything to turn on a light bulb," O'Brien said. "He just seems to find his level. We try not to bother him too much."
Rush's recent play reminds people of how he closed last season, when he averaged 15.9 points and shot 47 percent, including 41 percent on 3-pointers, in the final 12 games.
The last thing the Pacers want is for Rush to revert to the player who got off to a slow start this season and dealt with confidence issues. He is too talented to let his offensive game dictate other things he does on the court.
"I'm certainly hoping the production he has given us over the last 15 games or so is who he is because he's playing really well," O'Brien said. "He's shooting the ball at a very high clip with a lot of confidence. On-ball defense is good. We certainly need to continue to grow him off the ball because we think he can be a special defensive player. But I'm hoping and praying that this is who he is."