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Although the NBA season has not even ended yet, rumors are already flying about which Grizzlies will be on the trading block. While an O.J. Mayo trade seems inevitable to most Grizzlies fans, there has also been talk about trading Rudy Gay. While Rudy may be on the trading block soon, I believe he deserves another year in Memphis.

Gay deserves one more year because he has not yet had a chance to work with a fully functioning Grizzlies team. Although Randolph and Gasol were both healthy along with Gay in the 09-10’ season, Connelly was not the point guard he is today, and the team did not have Tony Allen’s reliable defense. The 10-11’ season was marred by Gay’s shoulder injury, and the Grizzlies went without Randolph for most of this season. I believe that if Rudy is allowed one more season with a fully functioning Grizzlies team, the Grizzlies can create the kind of atmosphere seen in Oklahoma City. For this to happen however, Gay must become the superstar and leader that Kevin Durant is.

Oklahoma City thrives off its use of three superstars: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. These three, along with a strong cast of efficient role-players, give OKC consistent scoring and defense. The team’s offense works best when Harden, Westbrook, and Durant are all clicking.

For Memphis, Gasol, Randolph and Gay are the superstars. The problem for the team, however, has been getting all three going at the same time. Take this year playoff series against the Clippers:

Game 1- Gasol: 14-4-6, Gay: 19-7-0, Randolph: 6-8-1

Game 2- Gasol: 8-7-3, Gay: 21-5-0, Randolph: 15-8-0

Game 3- Gasol: 11-10-2, Gay: 24-7-2, Randolph: 17-6-2

Game 4- Gasol: 8-5-2, Gay: 23-7-4, Randolph: 12-9-1

Game 5- Gasol: 23-7-4, Gay: 14-5-0, Randolph: 19-10-1

Game 6- Gasol: 23-9-3, Gay: 13-6-3, Randolph: 18-16-1

Game 7- Gasol: 19-5-2, Gay: 19-9-1, Randolph: 9-12-0

Excluding game 5, a game that the Grizzlies won by 12, each game saw one star have an off-night. While players are going to have off-nights every once in a while, I think the key to ensuring that Gasol, Gay, and Randolph have good games starts with Gay. If Gay made two improvements to his game, he could be the Shooting forward that Kevin Durant is and that Memphis fans want him to be.

The first key is for Gay to handle the ball better. Durant does this for OKC, and it really opens the floor. Harden, Westbrook, and Durant all have the ability to cut to the basket and shoot the three. When defense are forced to covers these three players, holes are left throughout the paint. If Gay were able to join Conley, who is already terrific at handling the point and slashing to the basket, and open up the court to the three-point line, holes would open up for both Gasol and Randolph. While Gay is patrolling the key with his better ball handling skills, he can further open up the paint by putting an emphasis on improving his three-point shot. Currently, only O.J. Mayo and Conley can shoot the three with any sort of consistency. If Gay were to become more of a consistent three-point shooter, defenses would have to cover him more outside of the lane. This respect for Gay’s three-point prowess would once again open up Randolph and Gasol under the basket.

With the Grizzlies current line-up, a deep postseason run is certainly possible. The key is for Gay to become the super-star marquee played that he has the talent and drive to become.

This is the first blog from a new writer at 3 Shades of Blue, Andrew Berry is a journalism student at SMU (Go Ponies!) and has been an avid reader of the blog for a while now. While home on vacation we will be helping his future career along giving him assignments such as covering the draft workouts and summer league activity. Please welcome him to the blog and feel free to comment on his perspectives. 

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17 Responses to Rudy Gay Deserves One More Year

  1. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    “For this to happen however, Gay must become the superstar and leader that Kevin Durant is.”

    Gay is not a superstar or a leader. Gay is going to be just 26 next year but Durant is 2 years younger already showing these attributes.

    Gay could become a better defender but his game (outside of re-upping his 3pt%) is what it is. Looking for him to pick it up a notch is not going to happen at this stage in his career. He is what he is and what he has been since his 2nd year in the league.

    Rudy will always suffer from step-child syndrome among Grizzlies fans because of his contract. If Randolph is not option 1, he will bitch and complain. If Gay is option 1 he will be crucified because he is a max player who is not going to bring max production – very good production, yes, but not MAX, not Durant.

    The best thing the Grizzlies could do is trade Rudy and try to emulate Denver/Indiana with the savings – which is a deep, talented team.

  2. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    Also, forgot to mention the luxury tax situation. Heisley is not going to pay luxury tax. He has said the Grizzlies are not in that business. To keep the current guys under contract and fill out the roster with just minimum contracts will take the Grizzlies very close to the luxury tax.

  3. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Scott. Rudy has had 6 years to develop with much the same starters the past 3 to 4 years. He will never be equal to Durant even though his pay is close. They need some salary freedom now and trading him would allow them to fill those much needed gaps. Heck against the clips he wasn’t much better than the player with one good hand.

  4. memphis81No Gravatar says:

    I think it’s somewhat unfair to abandon Rudy so quickly…Yes, he does get paid handsomely! I believe had he not have gotten injured last season, he would’ve became the type of player many people think he’ll never be. This team is tremendously talented and I’d rather take my chances with him on the team as opposed to ending up like that infamous Raptor fan.

  5. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    I’d love for Rudy to become our superstar … I’m just not sure if it’s going to happen.

  6. Rick02No Gravatar says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. To trade Gay would be a mistake. Glad to see a fresh perspective on this blog and to hear a young man’s opinions. Welcome, Andrew!

  7. OinkyNo Gravatar says:

    you don’t trade an Olympian plain and simple.

    • Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

      he hasn’t made the Olympic team just yet …. they still have the trials

      • OinkyNo Gravatar says:

        it is an interesting conversation to say the least. would love to see you guys break it down. here is my 12

        1 Kobe Bryant
        2 Tyson Chandler
        3 Kevin Durant
        4 Rudy Gay
        5 Blake Griffin
        6 James Harden
        7 Andre Iguodala
        8 LeBron James
        9 Kevin Love
        10 Chris Paul
        11 Russell Westbrook
        12 Deron Williams

  8. Dr. JonNo Gravatar says:

    Three things:

    1) Welcome to the site Andrew. Additional perspectives on our favorite team are ALWAYS welcome.

    2) As you’re a journalism student (I was a journalism minor as an undergraduate), remember to double check those names. It’s Conley, not Connelly, as you stated in the first paragraph. (It’s okay but I’m sure your profs will give you a hard time).

    3) I think the biggest problems with BOTH O.J. and Rudy is that they’re inconsistent. We count on them to help space the floor, but they’re not pure shooters – they’re slashers. That can be good, but given the way the offense runs through Gasol and Z-BO, we don’t need a lot of slashers who will further clog the paint (besides, Allen’s shot is terrible, meaning all he can be is a slasher).

    Personally, I would love to see Chris Wallace work a deal with Portland for Nicolas Batum (who is due to make some good money but nowhere near Rudy’s level) and one of their lottery picks. We get cap relief, an athletic 3 who is a more consistent outside shooter than Gay, and a lottery pick in a loaded draft. They can have both Mayo and Gay, two young, talented pieces for their rebuilding effort to piece with Aldridge and their other lottery pick. If we could get Elliot Williams in the deal, that would just be icing on the cake too.

  9. WayneNo Gravatar says:

    I watched OJ be better then Rudy his first 2 years in the NBA, Then Hollins came along and destroyed OJ’s pride….dont be suprised when OJ is picked up by another team for about 45-55 million & avg 22-24 ppg!!! This guy was never made to come off the bench….coach started Sam Young & Henry over OJ…smh!!! I never understood that logic, both those guys are scrubs…it took Henry getting hurt before Tony Allen could get any playing time…..

    • Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

      You know what logic I don’t understand? The logic that Lionel Hollins would have a personal vendetta against OJ Mayo and want to specifically destroy his pride and derail his career, therefore making the whole team weaker.

      There’s no denying that OJ can score … but if he has to take 30+ shots a game to get his 20 points, all the while turning the ball over at least once a quarter, then he’s not really being that effective.

      • WayneNo Gravatar says:

        you must never watched the Grizz before the last 2 years??? OJ was always better then Rudy….Did you forget that OJ & D Rose finished neck & neck for rookie of the year? & OJ never took as many shots as Rudy! Rudy is a ball hog!!! The ball stops when he touches it!! Did you see how much better the team was last year without Rudy in the playoffs??? He’s an overpaid avg player!

  10. EvanNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome, and thanks for the article. Frankly, I agree that Rudy deserves to be in Memphis next year. It’ll be an interesting summer!

  11. kasdNo Gravatar says:

    I think if the Grizzlies don’t explore all options it would be a mistake. I’m more afraid that if the grizzlies stand as is….we become exactly what we are. A team that will compete, give their all, but are simply not a championship contending team! They will be a top 5-6 team in the west for the next few years (which is nothing to be ashamed of) but not enough. We can point fingers all day long….but i think one of our max guys has to go to take us to the next level. It’s not a question of who we like…it’s about the money!!! We can’t afford more talent as is and we all know we need more talent!!!! A 20-10 PF (zbo) i think is more valuable to the grizzlies success than a 20-5-3 SF (gay)…I think the later is easier to replace. In summary I would look at what options are available for a potential Rudy move……….if we can get some serious talent (top 5-10 draft picks, young players, and money to keep oj, arthur, mo, arenas)….it is worth debating…….

  12. QuezNo Gravatar says:

    Wayne, I agree with you 100% when Lionel came, him and OJ didnt click well n that hurt OJ’s career so far

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