The Toronto Raptors traded for Rudy Gay before the NBA Trade Deadline last season to somewhat unflattering results. Gay certainly brought excitement to the Raptors once he arrived and was a solid defender for Toronto, but he also settled into his unnerving habits of taking ill-advised jump shots, which turned out to be an issue for him and his team.
Heading into the 2013-2014 season, though, the Raptors and Gay are trying to get things headed in a more postseason-bound direction. As a part of that, Gay showed up at training camp having added 15 pounds of muscle (the old training camp refrain). However, the coaches and players have noticed the difference in Gay’s build and, subsequently, in his play.
In a recent interview on NBA.com, head coach Dwayne Casey talked about how Gay has looked on the floor at camp with the added weight. He said that Gay looked stronger, but was still trying to get into better shape to where he could play at “NBA speed” with the new weight that he has coming into this season. He also talked about how the added weight will help Gay be more effective at the four, where the Raps plan to used Gay some this season.
In terms of playing a bulkier Gay at the four, I think that’s a fantastic idea. Putting him at a role where him playing near the basket is more necessitated will help improve his shot selection and should make him into a more effective offensive player. However, that also doesn’t take into account how the added weight could affect Gay negatively.
There’s a possibility that, even playing at the power forward, Gay’s new frame could cause him to not be in as great of shape and be as quick this season. Not only might that worsen his defense this year, but it could also cause him to settle into his bad habit of taking ill-advised shots once again.
The Raptors have some interesting pieces heading into this season, but their year will hinge on the performance of Gay. Considering his weight gain and the reports from camp, it will be interesting to see what Gay brings to the table in Toronto this year.