Rudy Gay is a good fit for the Raptors, who still need more
CANADIAN PRESS-Nathan Denette
Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay, left, slam dunks the ball past Los Angeles Clippers forwards Grant Hill, centre, and Lamar Odom, right, during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Feb. 1, 2013.
Jeff Hale, MSN Sports
If this is Bryan Colangelo’s final season as the general manager of the Toronto Raptors, he is not going out meekly.
Colangelo, in the final year of his contract, brought Rudy Gay to Toronto last week from the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a three-team NBA trade in which veteran Raptors guard Jose Calderon was sent to Detroit and Raptors forward Ed Davis went to Memphis. It is a good trade. It may not be enough, though.
Gay is a talented scorer, a good outside shooter who can also put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket. He gives the Raptors a solid go-to option when the shot clock is winding down or in last-minute situations.
In today’s NBA, where a post-up centre has gone the way of Chuck Taylor hightops, Gay’s slender frame can capably serve as a power forward, allowing him to escape the glut of wings Colangelo has assembled. Speaking of that glut, any concerns Gay could not exist on the same court as DeMar DeRozan, whose game is similar to Gay’s, were dispelled in their first two games with the Raptors, a 98-73 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers this past Friday and a 100-85 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday.
The Raptors’ fast break was too much for the Clippers, who were shorthanded and disinterested. But the Miami defeat showed how far the Raptors have to go to reach the top rungs within the Eastern Conference. Gay’s addition helps that climb but he is not an upper-echelon star in the manner of LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, players of superb ability who can also take over a game, as James did in the closing minutes against Toronto.
That type of player is not walking through the doors of the Air Canada Centre any time soon but even tacit acknowledgment of that doesn’t mean the Raptors could be finished dealing before the NBA’s Feb. 21 deadline. Gay’s acquisition and the promise offered by rookie Jonas Valanciunas could grease a path out of town for the injured Andrea Bargnani, who now becomes the Raptor with the longest tenure in Toronto. Calderon previously held that distinction and look what it did for him.