The Rudy Effect

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 with No comments
Written By Clevis Murray 

Rudy Gay has become one of the most talented Small Forwards in the NBA after being originally drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2006 with the 8th overall pick and immediately being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Stromile Swift for one of the best defenders in the NBA at the time in Shane Battier. Gay was off to a great start in Memphis and maintained great health but failed helping the Grizzlies reach the playoffs in his first four seasons without any major health issues.

Gay was off to a great start during the 2010-2011 season with hopes of making the playoffs for the first time still in mind. On February 15th, 2011 Rudy suffered a left shoulder subluxation which would end his season and perhaps his best as a pro averaging 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 47% from the field & 40% from the 3-point line.  With their franchise player going down it was fair to guess the Grizzlies would not make the playoffs.  Surprisingly, the Memphis Grizzlies did in fact advance to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons with a 46-36 record.  The Grizzlies opponent in the 1st round were the 4x NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs led by All-Time great Tim Duncan. The Grizzlies would eventually win the series in six games becoming only the second team in NBA history to defeat a #1 seed in a best-of-seven series thanks to the emergence of Zach Randolph, Memphis would eventually lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games but proved they did not need Rudy Gay to be successful.

Rudy Gay returned for the 2011-2012 season and played in a career-low 42 games. Despite the low number of games played by Gay, the Grizzlies earned the 4th seed in the Western Conference and a first round matchup with the new look Los Angeles Clippers but would lose in seven games. This was Rudy Gay's first and only trip to the playoffs in his young career and he struggled mightily from the field shooting 42% from the field and 21% from the 3-point line.  During the following season on January 30th 2013, Rudy Gay was traded to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team deal which also included the Detroit Pistons.  The Grizzlies traded their star for Tayshaun Prince who was called the "league's best perimeter defender" by Robert Pera in a salary dumping move which cleared up $37 million in committed salary, Gay was bound to be traded when Robert Pera took over as the Grizzlies owner on October 25, 2012 as he had made previous trades to clear up cap space.

With Rudy Gay now out of Memphis and in Toronto the Grizzlies surprisingly had their best season in franchise history and shocked the basketball community when they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals but their season ended via a sweep by the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies did improve their ball movement once Gay was traded as their assist rate increased 8.6%. Former teammate Tony Allen believed Memphis improved once Gay was traded saying

"Well, I just think we turned into the team that we were two years ago, without the guy that we traded."

Grizzlies Forward Zach Randolph agreed with Allen "I think we're a better team."

Memphis was 29-15 (.659) before the Gay trade & 27-11 (.711) after.

Rudy Gay had a very brief career with the Raptors which lasted only 51 games and he became known for banning stat sheets in the locker room. With advanced stats only becoming more popular we are now beginning to see that Rudy Gay is one of the worst players with a max level contract. While in Memphis he wasn't known for hurting his team but in Toronto it became more prevalent as he shoot 38% from the field.  The last time Rudy shot .500 or higher in a Raptors uniform was April 16th, 2013.  Gay averaged 2 assists per game while shooting the ball 19.3 times on average during games which hurt ball movement and the development of his teammates. 

On November 11th, 2013 Rudy went 11-37 from the field against the Rockets and finished with 29 points. LeBron James commented on Rudy's 37 shot game by saying "If you give me 37 shots in a game, I’d put up 60 easy" With his shooting woes Rudy was asked a question if he would come off the bench and responded

"Me? Would I ever come off the bench? No. I think this team needs me in the starting lineup. Maybe on a different team, maybe in the long run...But here? No."........The selfishness was evident. 

One should notice that players who love to shoot the ball come off the bench like J.R. Smith, Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas & Jamal Crawford. In a different era Rudy would've been known as a player trying to do everything he can to make his team win but in the analytical era it's the complete opposite.

On December 9th, 2013 Rudy Gay was traded to the Sacramento Kings in a salary dumping move by the Raptors due to his contract having two-years and $37.2M left on it and also Raptors GM Masai Ujiri getting the hint that the Rudy Gay & DeMar DeRozan combo wasn't meant to be and hurted the development of Jonas Valanciunas. Since the Rudy trade the Raptors are 10-4, 1st in the Atlantic, 4th in the Eastern Conference and were on a 5-game win streak entering Sunday before losing to the 2x defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. The Raptors offense has also increased by 3.3 per 100 possessions and as for the Kings, well they are still the Kings and are 4-7 since the trade.

With that being said, Rudy Gay is a tremendous NBA Small Forward but takes too many shots and isn't a willing to sacrifice for the team and is now gaining a reputation as being a cancer within various franchises.  With Memphis & Toronto improving dramatically since his departure from the team Gay's value around the league could be going down with Grantland writer Zach Lowe saying "I know GMs who say they wouldn't touch him now in free agency for the mid-level exception."

Keep in kind this is not a hate article about Rudy Gay but more of an observation, thanks for the read.

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