John Hollinger Notices Brandon Rush
Though, Brandon probably would have preferred that he not.
ESPN’s resident stat guru John Hollinger devoted an entire True Hoop post this afternoon to a dubious honor that Rush is about to earn.
If he manages to maintain his lead, he’ll claim the dubious distinction of being the worst player ever to lead his team in minutes. My search through the record books unearthed only two other players in the post-merger era to lead their team in minutes with a single-digit PER: Bruce Bowen with San Antonio in 2003-04, and Jason Collins with the Nets a season later.
Brandon’s PER of 9.96 is well below 15, the benchmark for average. Additionally, only Solomon Jones, Jeff Foster, and Travis Diener have posted worse PER’s for the Pacers this season.
Mr. Hollinger’s not making a lot of friends in either the Pacer front office or the fan base, but how right is he? Well, PER by itself is far from definite proof on the quality of the player. Even Hollinger admits this, so he’s being a bit casual here. Still, when you think of it from the perspective of all of the players who have led their team in minutes, you have to believe that Brandon is a whole lot closer to the worst than he is to the best.
The one thing that many in Pacer land love to give Rush credit for is his defense. It is true that Brandon is the best defender on the team, but that’s not exactly what you’d call a towering accomplishment. However, Hollinger even took issue with that.
But those were two of the best defensive players of the decade (if not ever, in Bowen’s case), so it’s obvious why they played so much. Rush is just an average defender, making his usage more perplexing.
I can hear the “harumphs” echoing through Conseco now.
This isn’t the first time recently Brandon has received a less than glowing review from a national media member. Chad Ford recently tweeted:
Tournament draft busts? Ed O’Bannon, Sean May, Chris Wilcox, Brandon Rush, Christian Laettner, Mateen Cleaves, Patrick O’Bryant …
Then, in response to @pacersdigest, who was protesting that Brandon was not a bust:
If NBA games were played only in March & April that would be true
Harsh words. So, what do you think?