Second-guessing the Rudy Gay trade


Feb 20, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) and Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) and Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (right) reacat at the end of the game at the Air Canada Centre. Memphis defeated Toronto 88-82. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe Lionel Hollins was right when he said you can’t have champagne taste and be on a beer budget, and that’s one tough pill to swallow. But it’s one that can’t be avoided as we watched everyone not named Quincy Pondexter struggle to knock down anything outside of five feet – hell, more often than not the Grizz struggled to get the ball in the basket inside five feet.

The Grizzlies lack of scoring was actually so bad it left you wondering: should Memphis have traded Rudy Gay?

Well, after witnessing the emergence of Paul George and coming out of the Spurs series questioning if team’s can still succeed when they’re dependent on two interior big men – I’m inclined to say no.

The Grizzlies leading scorer against San Antonio was actually a draw between Quincy Pondexter and Mike Conley. Pondexter!? He led the team in scoring two of the Grizzlies four games against San Antonio.

Randolph, the team’s leading scorer in the postseason at 17.4 points on 46 percent only mustered 11.0 points on only 30 percent in four games against the Spurs.

Whereas, Rudy Gay averaged 18.3 points on 47 percent in the three games he was still around for in their regular season series with SA. The only night he scored more than 15 points (23) against them accounted for the Grizz’ lone win in their seven meetings with the Spurs this year – at least when all of SA’s big three was playing.

It’s not rocket science. Every team in the league history has won a title because they had multidimensional scorer at their disposal.

The 2012 Heat: Lebron, 2011 Mavs: Dirk, 2009-1o Lakers: Kobe, 2008 Celtics: Paul Pierce, 2007 Spurs: everyone; all make for proof that you need creative offensive players to win championships. And with the current evolution of the NBA, that’s truer now than ever. It’s also worth noting that none of the players listed above makes under $15 million dollars.

Gay joined Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Pondexter as the only Memphis players to score more than 20 points against the Spurs this season. You’ll notice notice what 15-plus million dollar player isn’t on that list.

In short, the Grizzlies seemed to have a better chance against elite defensive teams like San Antonio with Rudy Gay. I’m not sure what he could have offered would be worth the $18 million dollars he was owed next season, or the $19 million he was on the books for in 2014-15. But I guess if you’re the Grizzlies you can’t help but ask yourself if saving money was worth ultimately costing  the team a better chance at a title.


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