Brandon Rush: Indiana Pacers

After a decorated collegiate career at the University of Kansas, which included leading the Jayhawks to the 2008 NCAA Championship, Rush was selected by the Portland Trailblazers with the 13th overall selection.  Minutes later, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers, along with Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts, for Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu.  Rush is the younger brother of JaRon Rush, a former UCLA star and NBA burnout, and Kareem Rush, formerly on the Indianapolis sports scene as a Pacer, and currently of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Brandon struggled early in his initial season with Indianapolis‘ home team. Despite consistent minutes, Rush couldn’t find his shooting touch, and mental lapses hindered him on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  As his confident plummeted, so did his playing time, and by January the highly touted rookie was a garbage-time player averaging under 10 minutes per game.

After the All-Star break, a different, more assertive Rush began to show that the hype was justified.  Over the season’s final 13 games, the 6’6″ shooting guard earned Jim O’Brien and Larry Bird‘s trust by scoring in double-digits in all but one game, averaging 16.9 points during that span.  He also demonstrated the ability to rebound at a high level, stroke the three, block shots, and shut down the opposition on the defensive end.  Basically, he exhibited all the traits of being an incredibly well-rounded Hoosier baller capable of playing a supporting role to All-Star Danny Granger.