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Brandon Rush's Return Shouldn't Impact Paul George's Minutes

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Three games into his NBA career, Indiana Pacers rookie Paul George seems to be more comfortable on the floor with each game. Which is more comfortable than he appeared in preseason, which was more comfortable than he appeared in summer league.

Playing time will do that for a player like George who wants to be good and is willing to work on his game.

But what will happen when Brandon Rush returns from his suspension?

According to Jim O'Brien, George will maintain his spot in the playing rotation.

"Brandon will be the second wing off the bench with a coach that only wants to play three wings," O'Brien said. "There will be times where Brandon gets an opportunity. If Paul is not guarding and guys are going by him, I will sub Brandon in for him in a second. If Paul's turning the basketball over, I'll sub (for) him."

Sounds reasonable as long as JOB doesn't let George get buried without an opportunity to redeem himself. I'm actually not too concerned about that happening since George has made his way onto the court through his defensive effort. Any quibbles with George's game have been at the offensive end, but that comfort-level thing mentioned above should help as the season continues.

What I really hope happens when Rush returns is that JOB applies the same judgement to Mike Dunleavy. If he's getting burnt and not making up for it at the offensive end then let Rush take some of his minutes and leave George's 20-25 minutes per game alone.

The other key is taking advantage of matchups and riding the hot hand. By hot hand I don't mean players who are simply shooting the ball well, but the players who are most effective on the court. Jim O'Brien has done a solid job of this in the first three games as he's altered the alloted minutes depending on a player's effectiveness. The most obvious example is Tyler Hansbrough who sat out the first game and then ended up finishing the next two wins for the Pacers.

This is the benefit of having a healthy roster and developing players hungry to earn their way onto the court. Competition ramps up for the minutes and if a player or two don't have it on a certain night, there's someone waiting on the bench desperate for some additional minutes.