Toronto Raptors: Rudy Gay Isn't Worth It

By Michael Roberts
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors continue to surround the Toronto Raptors as the most aggressive suitor in the Rudy Gay sweepstakes.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, trade talks continue between the Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies with other names potentially involved including Darrell Arthur, Ed Davis and Jose Calderon.

Although Gay would be a significant addition to the Raptors,  a closer look at the numbers suggest he and DeMar DeRozan are far too similar. Through the excitement of acquiring a talented a player, some Raptor fans are wondering if these two would even be able to play together. After all, this franchise doesn’t need another Chris Bosh-Jermaine O’Neal type scenario.

Through a breakdown of the numbers, it’s suggested Toronto could be headed for that exact type of situation. Let’s compare the two at this point in the season.

Gay ($17,888,931 million next year, player option for 2014-15 at $19,317,325 million, 26 years-old):

42GP, 17.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 2.5 tpg, 16.4 FGA, 40.8% FG%, 3.1 3PA, 31% 3P%, 3.7 FTA, 78% FT%.

DeRozan(After this season, $9.5 milllion for four years remaining, 23 years old):

45GP, 17.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.02 spg, 1.6 tpg, 14.9 FGA, 43.7% FG%, 1.5 3PA, 24.6% 3P%, 4.7 FTA, 83 FT%.

A quick look at the numbers show Gay would beat DeRozan in a shooting competition on the perimeter but there isn’t another number dramatically favoring the Memphis small forward. Yes, Gay has an edge in rebounding, but when the opposition has to worry about boxing out Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, obviously he’s going to find himself open. Not to take anything away from Gay’s rebounding, but a 1.6 rebound difference between DeRozan and Gay is hardly significant, given their athletic leaping ability.

DeRozan’s numbers also suggest this isn’t a case of a bad team needing someone to score. When you factor in all the help Gay has with the Grizzlies compared to DeRozan’s help on the Raptors, one has to wonder if DeRozan would be able to do even more than Gay if he was the one in Memphis. DeRozan has much better shooting percentages from the field and at the foul line, and although he can’t shoot the three, he doesn’t try to. For every extra three Gay takes, DeRozan uses that possession to attack the rim and shoot free-throws.

Now some would argue if both players were on the wing, they could take turns attacking the paint. Unfortunately, then the defenses would load up in the paint and challenge the duo to beat them from the perimeter, something that is clearly not the strength of either player.

Some would also argue that Gay could turn into a James Harden situation, and reveal himself to be a player who was sacrificing his game for the greater good in Memphis. That could be the case if he wasn’t averaging the most field-goal attempts, free-throw attempts and the third most three-point attempts for the Grizzlies. Not sure how much better Gay would be without having Randolph and Gasol down low demanding a lot of the defense’s attention.

When you consider DeRozan is the number one focus for every opponent’s defensive game plan, his numbers stand out even more. Considering he doesn’t have a player nearly as talented as Gasol or Randolph in the Raptors line-up, the fact he’s averaging better shooting percentages than Gay is that much more impressive.

Gay and DeRozan could turn out to be an excellent duo, they could turn into this era’s Bosh and O’Neal. A quick look at the numbers suggest the Raptors might be better off looking for help elsewhere, considering they might already have a player that plays Gay’s style of game better than Gay.  Given what Toronto might be giving up in a trade for the Memphis small forward, those assets might be worth hanging onto or using in another trade.

Besides, with the development Davis has shown this season, and the heart Calderon has always provided this franchise, is Gay really worth it? When for nearly $10 million more a year and three years older in age he’d provide the team with the same things DeRozan does? Especially, when it’s factored in Gay’s playing time would instantly limit Terrence Ross’ development.  How will Ross find the floor over guys like Gay, DeRozan, Alan Anderson and Landry Fields? His minutes would be limited at best.

The name value might be attractive but numbers never lie.

Gay is not worth it for Toronto.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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