Rudy Gay was not expected Friday night against the Clippers. However, after a long and hectic day of packing and crossing borders north to Canada, the veteran forward was in the lineup.
The former 2006 lottery pick had a solid game, scoring 20 points off the bench in a 98-73 rout of the Grizzlies. Everything was looking great for the Raptors: Amir Johnson played great defense on Blake Griffin, Aaron Gray had a solid game, and Gay and DeRozan looked like a great combo on the wing spots. Could this trade make the Raptors a respectable franchise again?
This was a small sample as it was only one game against a team that was missing their floor leader and arguably their best player: Chris Paul. Although this is a small sample, Raptor fans have many reasons to be excited.
Raps fans have been disheartened many times this year as Toronto blew many huge leads in the 4th quarter this year. Gay can certainly help this problem. Toronto needed a player that can give them a spark late in the game. Rudy Gay might not be the clutch player Carmelo Anthony or Paul Pierce is, but he has made a couple of game winners in his career. In addition, with the absence of Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors lacked a scorer barring DeMar Derozan. Gay`s 17 points per game can solve this issue.
The Raptors also have lacked decent Small Forward production this year. Linas Kleiza has been absolutely horrible and Landry Fields has been somewhat of a disappointment. Gay will fill in as the Raptor`s starting Small Forward as he is obviously better than those two role players.
Despite their less than impressive 17-30 record, the Toronto Raptors have been an exciting team to watch this year. Canada`s sole team had some tight encounters against the Heat, Spurs and the Jazz in some intriguing overtime games. The Raptors have also lost many games in which the margin was less than 5. Rudy Gay can add more excitement to the fans with his highflying dunks. Gay already showed his dunking skills in his first game against the clippers by stuffing two alley-oop passes from DeMar DeRozan. I
The Raptors currently have a hole at the Power Forward position. This hole can be filled with the return of Andrea Bargnani. The Italian big man is expected to come back as early as next week.
This season, however, has been an atrocious one for the former 2006 1st overall pick. Bargnani is shooting 39% from the field and is arguably the worst rebounding big man in NBA history. Standing 7 feet tall, the Italian is averaging 4 rebounds per game in 32 minutes.
With the acquisition of Gay, life has actually been easier for Bargnani. With Jonas Valanciunas coming back from injury, the Lithuanian along with Gay and Lowry ( who are averaging 6 and 4.5 rebounds per game respectively respectively) might mask Bargnani’s glass deficiencies. Gay will also take the scoring load off Bargnani as the newest Raptor will be the franchise’s top scoring option.
Most NBA fans will tell you that Rudy Gay is a versatile forward that can do a bit of all. Gay is a dependable player that could help the team in a lot of ways. Now, it’s up to Bargnani to step up. If the former number one pick can find his shooting touch again (assuming that he does not get dealt before the deadline), the Raptors could be a threat for years to come. Rudy Gay is arguably the best player on this team, however, the success and the failure of this team depends on Andrea Bargnani’s play.
The post Rudy Gay’s impact on the Raptors appeared first on Pass The Pill.