|Probably a BRICK|
Despite the Raptors initial success after acquiring Rudy Gay, the team has now taken a step back thanks to the struggles of their new franchise player. Let’s go back to the night he first put on the Raptors uniform, February 1st against the red-hot Clippers. The excitement around the team was palpable, the national media had their eye on the often overlooked franchise and the fan base in Toronto had a reason to be excited. A player with Gay’s ability are rare and he was a Raptor, surely a reason to be excited! Then came the actual game and it was a thing of beauty. Despite not having Chris Paul, the Clippers were still thought to be the favorites, but Toronto ran over the “other team from LA” in a 98-73 drubbing. Gay was the teams’ high scorer with 20, he shot 50% from the field (8-16) including three of six from downtown. Since that game he has shown flashes of brilliance, but unfortunately for the Raptors and their fans, Rudy has not been living up to the hype.
There is no question that in the NBA, a good team needs to have a wing player capable of scoring in one-on-one situations late in the clock. Rudy Gay can do this and it showed in his greatest Raptor moment so far. His 17 foot jumper in OT against the Pacers, one of the NBAs best teams in my opinion, gave the Raptors a 2 point lead with under 2 seconds to go. This is what Rudy Gay can do, he can mesmerize you with his talent and his ability to get a shot off against a good defender, such as Paul George in the video below. He tantalized fans even more, by hitting yet another game winner just 2 games later against Denver. If you look closer at those games though, he shot just a combined 15 of 39 for a 38.4% clip. Sadly, this is about what he has been shooting for the Raptors since they acquired him.
Gay has shot a lowly 39.3% since he has become a Raptor, just a horrible number for a player shooting as much as Gay (nearly 20 times a game! *gasp*). What’s worse? Gay is shooting a pitiful 24.1% from three point land in that same period yet still attempting over 4 threes per game. Even worse? Yes, one last nauseating statistic is that Gay has not shot 50% or better from the field in any game for the Raptors since the first game he played against the Clippers. The Raptors got off to a hot start with the new band, winning 6 of their first 8, however, since then the team has dropped 6 of 7 including 5 straight. Could it be Andrea Bargnani‘s fault like all Raptor fans are hoping? Yes it could, but Gay’s play isn’t helping matters. There is so good news here though: The Raptors were not going to make a big run this year, the just had too big of a whole to climb out of, but an off season of hard work and a few additional pieces could see this team be a player for a postseason spot next year. Gay has shown good defense since his acquisition and his effort level is certainly not in question. The actual question is and has always been with Rudy Gay: Can his production equal his talent level? Only time will tell.
By: Andrew Lipson