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Larry Bird likes Brandon Rush a lot more than Jim O’Brien

Oct 15, 2010, 3:06 PM EDT

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Brandon Rush is still a member of the Indiana Pacers for one reason — Larry Bird thinks he could be something special.

How good we can debate, but he certainly has the skills to be better than he has shown in his first two seasons. Rush’s name comes up in countless trade discussions, but he has not been moved because Bird believes. You can see Rush being a quality NBA player in the future.

Coaches can’t live in the future, their jobs force them to live in the now. And right now, Rush isn’t helping the Pacers much — and he will miss the first five games of the season due to violating the league’s drug policy.

Along those lines, the brutally honest Pacers coach Jim O’Brien was turned his verbal scalpel on to Rush, in the Indianapolis Star.

“There would be the issue of where he would be in the rotation if he wasn’t suspended. That is an issue separate from the suspension. He has to earn a rotation spot, number one. Number two, clearly he can’t be in it the first five games so I’m thinking in terms of obviously other people.

“And depending on how the other people do in the first five games, we’ll see how he fits back in.”

Danny Granger is the Pacers best option on the wing (by a healthy margin) but they also have Mike Dunleavy, James Posey and rookie Paul George. O’Brien has choices.

O’Brien needs to succeed now, and because of that Rush is going to struggle to find minutes on the wing. No matter how much Larry Bird likes him.

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