What?! What did I say? I’m talking about a basketball player here people, I don’t know what you think I mean by that but I’m talking about one of the best in the NBA right now. Get your heads out of the gutter. Actually, keep them there because my writing is usually in their as well…
People around the NBA really questioned this deal when it first happened. Rudy Gay was overpaid and Memphis was essentially dumping him for cap purposes only. But a couple things got overlooked in that deal (not by all, but some). One was that Gay is a guy that was used to being the go to guy and he had that role ripped from him in Memphis. And two is that the Raptors can’t get anyone to come to Canada, so what is the point of having all that cap space available if they can’t use it on anyone useful?
He has completely transformed the Raptors. They’re now 7-3 with him in the lineup with wins in Indiana, on the road and at home vs the Knicks, at home against Denver, and even though the score didn’t look like it in the end they played the Heat tight for most of their game on Super Bowl Sunday.
This team lacked that go to guy. Andrea Bargnani is far from that guy (hell at this point he’s far from a decent 12th man), Kyle Lowry is a nice point guard but he isn’t that guy, DeMar DeRozan is an amazingly athletic player but he isn’t that guy either. Gay is. He has that “give me the ball and get the hell out of my way” attitude that every team in the NBA needs to succeed.
That was on full display last night against the Knicks. 26 of his 32 points came in the 2nd half of the game. He put the team on his back, especially in the 3rd quarter. He is the alpha dog that this team hasn’t had since Vince Carter. Sure Chris Bosh was an all-star, but he was never going to be the kind of guy that could put a team on his back and carry them deep in the playoffs.
Gay, if he has the right pieces to play with, could be that guy. Now, that’s not to say that he could lead this team the finals, in fact I highly doubt he could. But get them to the Eastern conference finals in the next 2 or 3 years? I think that’s very possible in the East.
Bryan Colangelo with this one deal went from being on his way out, to having built something really nice. Gay is still pretty young, Kyle Lowry is young at the point, DeRozan is developing into a great 2 guard (and has meshed well with Gay, some thought that could be an issue), and if they wanted to move DeRozan they have Terrance Ross developing, and then they have Jonas Valanciunas who might be the player benefiting from this move the most as he can just quietly develop his game with little pressure/urgency to do so.
So now we get to see if this team can in fact get in the dance. They’re closing very fast on the Bucks (now 4.5 games back), although the Sixers somehow have 4 games in hand on the Raps and are a game in front of them so they’ll be chasing them as well. BUT…they’re very much in it with the way they’re playing right now. I wouldn’t expect much from them if they got in and played the Heat. A successful season at this point would be getting in the playoffs and taking the Heat to 6 games.
But it does appear weather they make the playoffs or not that FINALLY good things are on the way for this franchise. What is in the water in T.O. these days?! Raptors playing great, Leafs playing great, Jays looked primed for the playoffs and the Argos won the Grey Cup! I guess Toronto FC sucks but that’s ok because soccer (much like wrestling) isn’t real…
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