NBA Toronto Raptors

Rudy Gay Improves Toronto Raptors’ Defense Above All Else

Rudy Gay LeBron James

Tom Szczerbowski – USA Today Sports Images

There were some people that questioned the Toronto Raptors when they acquired Rudy Gay almost two weeks ago in a trade. After all, his offensive skill-set is somewhat redundant of DeMar DeRozan’s, a guy who the Raptors re-signed earlier this season. And that’s a fair point.

In his five games with Toronto, Gay hasn’t been spectacular offensively. He’s poured in 23.4 points per game, but he’s done so on 41.1 percent shooting and 20.8 percent shooting from beyond-the arc. That’s not exactly getting it done efficiently. However, what he has done efficiently is improve the Raptors’ defense.

In his short time there, Gay is averaging 6.4 rebounds, one block and three steals per game. For the five games that he’s been there, that makes him second on the team in rebounds, tied for second in blocks and the team-leader in steals.

More than just simple counting statistics, Gay also has the best defensive rating on the Raptors, a metric which calculates opponent points allowed per 100 possessions. He has a 103 defensive rating, making him the only other player besides Amir Johnson who has a rating below 105. Johnson has a 104 rating.

His defense has been evident in how their opponents have played, as well. For the entire season, the Raptors rank 19th in the NBA in opposing points, allowing 99.1 points per game. In the five games that Gay has played with Toronto, that number has dropped significantly to 91.8 points per game, even including an overtime game last Friday against the Indiana Pacers.

Gay’s athleticism and length allows him to guard power forwards and wing-men, something that the Raptors haven’t had on their roster in quite a while. Because of that, it makes them a more versatile defensive team because they are able to matchup better with more teams.

For him to be a huge acquisition for Toronto, Gay needs to improve his offensive efficiency to around his career average of 45.1 percent shooting and 34.1 three-point shooting. However, what he’s doing for them on defense is definitely a nice addition to start off with.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twittter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.