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What is Rudy Gay’s destiny?

July 31, 2012
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Talented wing scorers who never achieved “franchise” player status fill the NBA history books. It’s not bad company at all. Guys like Stephen Jackson, Jalen Rose, and Cedric Ceballos will always get respect at future All-Star Weekend parties.

While the record books may be full of these guys, in the big picture, few really stand out in the memory of the average fan.

You’re probably better off being a Robert Horry or a Derek Fisher, making big shots in the playoffs but rarely scoring more than 20 points in a game. It’s all about fame.

I mean, look at Mitch Richmond. He’s somewhat of a forgotten guy despite being a franchise player in the 90′s and consistently named to All-Star teams. The lack of playoff success killed his “legacy” (as did 2001-02, when he rode the pine in L.A. for a ring).

One of the best scorers today that hasn’t achieved “superstar” level is Rudy Gay…..but looks can be deceiving. Though being passed up for Andre Iguodala recently by Team USA, the man has nothing to feel bad about. It’s not that Iggy is a better player than Gay, it’s just that he takes less shots and is better-suited for a defensive role.

Okay, but just ask Carmelo Anthony…that’s not how you sell jerseys (or get traded to the team of your dreams).

Rudy’s stats are actually pretty gaudy for a young guy that hasn’t even made one All-Star team:

 Year G GS  FG%  PTS REB AST
’07-’08 81 81 .461 20.1 6.1 2.0
’08-’09 79 77 .453 18.9 5.6 1.7
’09-’10 80 80 .466 19.6 5.9 1.9
’10-’11 54 54 .471 19.8 6.2 2.8
’11-’12 65 65 .455 19.0 6.4 2.3

(his rookie year has been politely left out – 10.8 ppg)

As you can see, the kid is a beast on paper as well as on the court. Heck, If I was Rudy’s agent, I’d have been furious at BlogNBAsketball‘s trade proposal last year (Ariza, Jack, and Belinelli…oh my). Back then, I was pushing hard for the Memphis Grizzlies to trade Gay because I thought he wouldn’t gel with the established ‘bigman’ crew of Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol.

Despite my bloggissizing, he played very well in 2012 (an All-Star snub to boot). Truth be told, Z-Bo’s torn MCL allowed for Rudy to take more shots and have a bigger role than I had originally anticipated. I can’t help but feel that this shift in production eventually lead to their 1st round loss vs the Clippers. At the end of those games they were looking to the perimeter more than the interior.

That’s not how the ‘The Grindhouse’ gets down.

Memphis is just a better team when they’re inside-out, especially down the stretch of big games.

I still wish Rudy moves on to another team. It’s not a negative towards him but it’s just so that we may finally see him be the franchise player who carries the offensive load every night.

You don’t think Gay could make a team like the Charlotte Bobcats serious box office sellers? He’d win less than he does now but more people would know who he is and what he can do offensively. Maybe even then he could expand on his defense.

Rudy has the victories in Memphis, but not the role…..the one he’s capable of. I think he has the ability and the demeanor to lead a team to the playoffs.

In the end, it’s not good enough to just be a franchise player nor a guy who “helps” a team get to the playoffs. You have to lead them there yourself.

Just ask Mitch Richmond.

The average fan forgets…..he did it back in ’96.

{extra shot: The Grizzlies acquired SG Wayne Ellngton recently in exchange for PF Dante Cunningham. While this move barely made some sports tickers, I currently have Ellington slotted to start at SG next season for Lionel Hollins. As great as Tony Allen’s defense and experience are, this team needs perimeter shooting around Gasol & Z-Bo. Tony is better suited as 6th man, anyways. This could be a break-out year for Wayne.}

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One Response to What is Rudy Gay’s destiny?

  1. Colina84 on September 23, 2012 at 6:20 am

    A compelling argument you’ve made. but I have a hard time calling someone a franchise player whose team plays better the less he shoots.

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