-Thursday, I watched the first half of the Kansas-Portland State blowout. I have always liked Brandon Rush, and he really shined in this game early on. Rush has always been very consistent in his three years with Kansas and can do a lot of things well. Rush finished with eighteen points in thirty minutes along with six rebounds. Rush also shot four for nine from behind the three point line. In terms of pro potential, I think Rush is a sleeper, similarly to what Tayshaun Prince's stock was like coming out of college. Both players were very consistent in their college career, played for big time universities, and had NBA bodies. Likewise, people wondered if they reached their ceiling early, and would not have much room to get better in the NBA. I love Rush's pro potential and think he can be a strong contributor. Along with great size and strength, he has a large wingspan and runs the floor well. Rush does a lot of things well, including rebounding efficiently for a guard, shooting range, and playing terrific perimeter defense. Rush's biggest weakness seems to be his ball handling, but I would assume this is a skill he will work on prior to individual team workouts.
-I've also spent some time watching Kevin Love of UCLA over the last few weeks. Love is an interesting prospect because he does not have the super athleticism that many young big men do today. He is more of a polished player, who does a lot of things well. For a pro team, if you are drafting him to be a top player within a franchise, I think you are making a mistake. However, if a team is looking for him to be their fifth player, I think he is a great fit.
Some interesting videos of Love:
-I'm still concerned about the Celtics making it through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. Boston beat the Pistons two-out-of-three in the regular season, but the Pistons guards have played excellent in the matchup. Down the stretch of games, if Doc Rivers feels the need to play Sam Cassell over Rajon Rondo because of the experience, I see Cassell as a huge liability on defense. Cassell cannot keep up with Richard Hamilton running off screens and will not be able to stay with Chauncey Billups' physical play. In a matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, I would again be concerned with their defense on LeBron James. Boston split their four matchups with Cleveland this season and James scored 38, 33, DNP, and 26. I don't see Pierce being able to matchup with James for most of a playoff game and still able to produce at a high level on offense. James Posey appears to not have much left in his tank and Tony Allen is not big enough to defend James. The main benefit the Celtics do have on their side in a big defensive matchup is Kevin Garnett defending the basket and Tom Thibodeau creating defensive game plans.