Pacers Trade Brandon Rush for Lou Amundson

Acquiring Lou Amundson is not a reason to celebrate. But for the current Indiana Pacers, he is the exact type of better-than-serviceable big man off the bench the team needs. He is efficient, he plays on both ends, and he matured his game in a winning system in Phoenix (although he played last year in Golden State, which is where Brandon Rush is headed). He doesn’t add a ton to the table, but he takes nothing off. He may not be the transformational piece that turns an eight seed into a four seed, but you cannot dispute that he does have a pony tail.

Best of all, the guy Larry Bird gave up to get Lou was entirely expendable.

For a quick and dirty comparison, in Almundson’s only three seasons during which he got any playing time, he posted PERs of 14.4, 13.5 and 11.3. In Rush’s first three seasons, he had PERs of 9.0, 9.6 and 10.6. Naturally, the 6’9″ forward rebounds twice as much per minute as Rush. But he also scores about as well per minute as Brandon does with a significantly higher eFG% despite not shooting threes.

That will be the only thing Indy really loses: a good three-point shooter.

Brandon, in theory, plays good on-ball defense as well, but as Tim Donahue researched, that never actually led to much measurable success for the Pacers. He breaks it down statistically in the following three paragraphs.

In his three years in the NBA, Brandon Rush played 6,048 minutes for the Pacers. While he was on the floor, the Pacers posted an offensive rating of 103.6 points per 100 possessions. For reference, only 13 teams (of the 90 total teams that took the court during the past three years) posted worse efficiency ratings than that figure. During the 7,334 minutes Rush was off the floor, Indiana scored 107.5 points per 100. This isn’t great production either, but it’s right at or slightly below league average.

But Brandon’s a defensive specialist, right? So it’s at that end where he redeems himself? Not exactly.

With Rush on the floor, the Pacers allowed just above 108 points per 100 possessions, which is slightly worse than average for the NBA. But, the Pacers were a terrible defensive team, right? So even with this below average rating, Brandon had to be helping, right? Well … the problem is that Pacers have not been a terrible defensive team — they were statistically average over the past few years. And when Brandon was off the floor, they improved, allowing only 106.3 per 100 possessions.

Numbers aren’t everything though.

Lou is also a guy who:

  • fits a need (rotation big man who can sorta play both forward spots)
  • has experienced success in his career (he played for the Suns in the Western Conference Finals two years ago)
  • was likely frustrated last year by playing for a bad team (the 36-46 Warriors) and being injured (only played in 47 games due in part to a broken finger)

In an ideal world, he would be a little bigger so he could play some center minutes behind Roy Hibbert and Jeff Foster. But Rush was just cluttering up the wing rotation anyway so there is no real downside. And if Tyler Hansbrough misses any games (a decided possibility) and/or Jeff Pendergraph turns out to be worthless (an even more decided possibility), Frank Vogel will likely consider it very convenient to have a willing and eager “I’ll-do-whatever-you-want-coach” guy backing up David West at power forward.

Lastly, hailing from UNLV, Amundson joins Danny Granger (New Mexico), David West (Xavier), Paul George (Fresno State), George Hill (IUPUI) and Jeff Foster (Southwest Texas State University) to give the Pacers six guys who played for mid-major programs in college. That has to help give this team an identity.

Tags: Brandon Rush Lou Almundson

  • Boom Baby

    How dare you lump Xavier in with the rest of those schools? haha

  • JT’s Hoops Blog

    I don’t think Admunson will play much considering the fact the Pacers already are stacked up well in the front court with Hibbert, West, Hansbrough and Foster. still, it is a far better upgrade than Rush. Rush was never that great anyways. It’s very strange that the warriors would trade Admunson for Rush considering the Warrior’s lack of depth in the frontcourt and glut of guards. Adding another SG just does not make any sense to me.

  • jk31

    I think David West could sit out a game or two in this compressed schedule, to give his knee a break. Then it would be a good move, to get another big.

  • Joe

    I like the trade. Rush needed to get out of town. Too many chances and not enough production. The whole league knew we wanted to get rid of him, and this is what we could get for him straight up. Good move for both teams probably.

  • nikp

    GSW want Rush because he is supposed to fill the role left by Reggie Williams (make 3′s, play some D on the guys Monta/Klay are too small to guard.) They consider Lou expendable because they are so high on “newcomers” Jeremy Tyler & Ekpe Udoh and want to develop them behind their Lee/Beidrins/Kwame core.Lou would eat into that development, but on a team like the Pacers, he will not really be stealing time from the young players (Hibbert/T) since they are the incumbent starters anyway. He might only get 10 min/game, but I personally cannot wait to see Foster/T/Lou playing together – they are going to get under the skin of players and really change some games

  • chris

    jt hoops, makes total sense. warriors have curry and ellis with 2 rookie backups in the guard spots. klay davidson being one who is good but unproven. if you knew anything about basketball seeing how u have blog about it you would know the need a guard whos played the game behind ellis. jt i suggest you take off ur sunglasses and look at the situation b4 u make idiot comments on websites.

  • chris

    look at me….klay thompson…

  • roobie

    fat people, having fun… genocide for anyone who weighs a ton…

  • kester

    I like this acquisition. Are we stacked at the big man slots now? Maybe, but it’s a stack of injuries possibly waiting to happen. Foster, West, Hansbrough, Pendergrast, and Amundson too…all working (or have worked) their way out of injuries that sidelined them.

    It’s a crammed schedule that’s going to favor endurance. We may end up using every last one of these bigs.

  • Derek Unverzagt

    Great move, rush never lived up to the hype (remember the end of his rookie season, putting up 15-20 points a night starting), and Lou gives a nice front man rotation incase something occurs, and another expendable trade chip if the need arises before the trade deadline.

  • gregor t.

    Does anyone know why we just didn’t re-sign Josh McRoberts?