Bloggers Roundtable: Who to Start at Small Forward?
Over the last few days, we’ve introduced a Bloggers Roundtable series. So far, our “starting five” of Warriors bloggers, consisting of Ethan Sherwood Strauss (Bleacher Report), Rich Twu (Golden State of Mind), Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy), Adam Lauridsen (Fast Break) and Ben Cruz (Warriors World), have addressed important factors that will most impact Warriors success and whether or not the Warriors will make the playoffs this season. The question they’ll discuss today is below:
Who should the Warriors start at small forward on Opening Night?
Ethan Sherwood Strauss | Bleacher Report | @SherwoodStrauss
Brandon Rush, and I'm surprised this is a topic of debate. Harrison Barnes could very well be an incredible NBA rookie, but few seventh picks came into the league and immediately helped their teams. Rush is a quality defender, who managed to chart an absurd 62.8% true shooting percentage last season. Barnes has to take that job, not have it handed to him.
Rich Twu | Golden State of Mind | @poormanscommish
As a basketball purist, I think Harrison Barnes needs to "pay his dues" to be a starter. Brandon Rush has earned the spot due to his play last year and the departure of Dorell Wright. I had called for Rush to start ahead of Wright in many a blogpost. So, in my book, Barnes would have to outshine Rush by a lot during the preseason for him to get the starting spot ahead of Rush. I don't see that happening in a short two-week timespan. That being said, Barnes has a way, way, way higher ceiling than Rush. Barnes is not only a physical specimen, but he's more athletic explosive and will have better footwork. Dare I say, Barnes has the potential to be a deadlier sharp shooter than Rush. The talent of Barnes just needs to be reined in a little, as well as polished some more. The starting spot will be Rush's to lose as the season progresses, and that's not necessarily a bad thing in that at some point, you'd expect Barnes's development as a pro to intersect Rush's contributions, then surpass it. Obviously it is in the best interests of the Warriors that this happens sooner rather than later.
The five bloggers featured here unanimously agree that Brandon Rush should start at small forward for the Warriors this season. (photo: Cameron Browne/NBAE/Getty)
Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
Brandon Rush, who probably should've started at small forward last season. In a lineup with Stephen Curry, Thompson, David Lee and Bogut, Rush's efficient offensive game and solid defense would fit in well. Rush can make an impact without getting a high number of shots, and with the other four starters there won't be many of those to go around.
Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
Brandon Rush. Of the small forward options, he's played the best during the preseason. If the coaching staff is running a meritocracy, they should reward that effort. But ultimately, both Rush and Barnes will see significant minutes. I expect the team to ease Barnes into the NBA game, the same way they did last year – with great success – with Klay Thompson.
Ben Cruz | Warriors World | @cruzkontrol
Brandon Rush should be the starting small forward come Opening Night. While he may not be the offensive weapon that Harrison Barnes is, Rush is the more versatile player and the better defender and therefore should be named the starter.
The Bloggers Roundtable continues Saturday with a look at which Warriors might find themselves in Houston for the NBA's All-Star Weekend in February. And see below for prior questions in this discussion: ...
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