Toronto Raptors Have to Stop Relying on Rudy Gay Offensively
When Rudy Gay was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Toronto Raptors, it was almost a universally agreed that it would help Toronto. Before the trade, the Raptors were just 16-30. Since acquiring Gay, they’ve gone 8-8.
However, they’ve dropped six of their last eight games and have struggled a great deal, and Gay has been a factor in those recent problems.
In the 15 games that Gay has played for the Raptors, he has averaged a team-high 19.8 points per contest, and has also notched 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. One of the largest improvements that Gay makes for the Raptors is his defense. He has a unique combination of length and athleticism that allows him to guard guys on both the interior and perimeter, and Toronto has played their best defense of the season with Gay on their roster.
But, the problem with Gay on the Raptors actually arises on the other end of the floor. He may be leading the Raptors in points per game, but has done so on just 39 percent shooting from the floor and 23.3 percent shooting from 3-point range. The biggest problem with Gay shooting that inefficiently is that he leads the team in field goal attempts at 18.8 per game, and takes four 3-point attempts per game as well.
Since acquiring him, the Raptors have made Gay the focal-point of their offense. When he’s on the floor, it’s rare when a play doesn’t run through him. That schematic choice, coupled with his poor shooting, has caused the Raptors to really stumble on offense.
This isn’t like it’s a new thing with Gay, either. When he was with Memphis, the best way to stop the Grizzlies on offense was to shut down Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and to make Gay try and beat you. Most of the time, he would eventually shoot Memphis out of the game because, in actuality, he’s not that proficient of an offensive player.
As the Raptors most likely try to build around Gay for their future, they have to find guys to put around him that will be able to take more of the workload on the offensive end. Gay is an asset to their team and can be a solid offensive player when he’s utilized properly, but he’s not going to be able to cut it as the Raptors are using him.