April 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Brandon Rush (4) with the ball against the New Orleans Hornets during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The New Orleans Hornets defeated the Golden State Warriors 83-81. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Depending on what the Washington Wizards do with Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, they could have around $12 million of salary-cap space to spend this summer. It remains to be seen if the Wizards actually use it or bank it towards the 2013 class, but in any event, there are a number of free agents that could help the team's push into playoff contention. We'll take a look at several of those options in this running series. Next up: Brandon Rush.
Team: Golden State Warriors
Type: Restricted free agent.
This past year: Had by far his best season as a pro, especially shooting the ball. Rush hit an obscene 45 percent of his three-pointers, fitting in beautifully into the Warriors' fast pace. Because he finally learned to focus on his strengths, he posted a 62.8-percent true shooting percentage. He also made significant improvements in his shot-fake game, doing a better job of creating better shots for himself and others when players closed out on him.
Why he's fit in well: Has become an elite spot-up shooter, ranking 15th in the entire league in points per possession in that category, according to MySynergySports.com. He's also versatile enough to play either shooting guard or small forward, which will make him valuable in a number of possible lineup combinations.
Why he might not: While Rush had an excellent year last year, he had been very unproductive as a player in the three years before that. In particular, his shooting percentages were way above his career norms, so you have to wonder if his lockout-shortened season this year was a bit of a fluke. He also has an injury history and is only an average defender.
Likely price tag: Another one of those guys who should come in slightly below the mid-level exception.
Verdict: If the Wizards can guarantee that they're getting something close to the Rush that we saw this year, it's an absolute no-brainer to try to sign him. However, I think it's also possible that he just had a flukey shooting year and would come back to earth a bit in another environment.
All that said, because of his versatility, he is an option to consider no matter if the Wizards draft Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. I'd check out Rush, but not pursue him so much to the point where many other good options that we've profiled get ignored.