The Warriors knew they were getting a terrific perimeter shooter when they acquired Brandon Rush. But come on, this terrific?
Outside the 3-point arc, the fourth-year swingman has been out of this world almost from the day he joined the Warriors in late December. But he's been absolutely ridiculous of late -- Rush has buried 14 of his past 17 attempts over seven games, including two huge bombs down the stretch in a 93-90 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Rush not only leads the NBA in 3-point percentage (32 for 54, 59.3 percent), he is on league-record pace. Only six players have ever shot better than 50 percent for an entire season -- Steve Kerr did it three times with Chicago -- and Chicago's Kyle Korver holds the league mark for a full campaign (59 for 110, 53.6 percent, with Utah in 2009-10).
The Warriors' all-time single-season leader is B.J. Armstrong (47.34 percent in 1995-96).
Only three players in the league are shooting 50 percent or better this season from beyond the 3-point line. Boston veteran Ray Allen is right behind Rush at 56 percent (42 for 75), and Atlanta's Marvin Williams is at 50 percent (23 for 46).
It remains to be seen how long it will last, but Rush won't overthink it. He's just going to ride it.
"I'm just catching fire right now," he said. "Everything is pretty much dropping in."
He's dropping them in at the right time, too. Rush scored 15 of his season-high 20 points against the
Rush shot a respectable 40.2 percent from 3-point range in his first three seasons with the Indiana Pacers, including a best of 41.7 percent last year. So why the huge jump this year?
"I'd say I'm getting more consistent looks," he said. "Guys are looking for me all the time on breaks and set plays. Plus, my minutes have been pretty consistent. It's real nice to know when you're playing time is going to come."
Jackson said he has been impressed with more than just the outside scoring from Rush.
"I think people are getting caught up in his shooting, but he's also been an outstanding rebounder and defender for us, and he's had a calming effect on our offense," the coach said. "He was bad in the first half (Tuesday night). He made mistakes and had breakdowns probably for the first time since he's been here. But when I put him in in the third quarter, I just said to him, 'OK, make it right.' And he did. He's been great since we've had him."
The Warriors acquired Rush from Indiana on Dec. 19 -- just a few days before the start of the lockout-delayed season -- for forward Lou Amundson, and at this point, it's one of the steals of the year. Amundson is averaging just short of 8.9 minutes and 2.5 points for the Pacers, and suffice it to say he hasn't made a single 3-pointer (he hasn't made one in his six-year NBA career, attempting just two).
Rush, meanwhile, is averaging 25.2 minutes, 9.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. He had six rebounds Tuesday night, lending credence to his being more than a one-dimensional player.
But suddenly, on a team loaded with players who can shoot from long distance, Rush is the certifiable top marksman. He admitted he wasn't a good shooter coming out of Kansas even though he shot 44 percent from the college 3-point line, so he's come a long way.
"It just comes from practice and continuing to work on it," he said. "And I always try to keep it simple."
The Warriors often have some wild 3-point shooting drills in practice involving Rush, Stephen Curry, Nate Robinson, Dorell Wright and rookie Klay Thompson. In a typical drill, the team's long-range shooters fire from five spots beyond the arc, shooting as many as 25 shots in a minute from each station.
"Me and Klay win most of the time," Rush said. "Klay is actually the best shooter in the gym, hands down."
That said, if a member of the Warriors is invited to participate in the Three-Point Shootout the NBA All-Star Weekend activities this year, Rush wants to be the guy.
"Definitely ... I really want to go," he said. "I want to represent this team."
He's already representing them quite well in the regular season.