Key 2009-10 Stats: 19.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 16.3 PER
What to Like About Rudy Gay: The Nets were one of the worst offensive teams in the league last year and Rudy Gay brings scoring punch and he brings it to a position (small forward) that the organization is desperate to fill this off-season. His mid-range offensive game is fantastic for the position. He shot 48.3 percent from 10-15 feet according to Hoopdata, which would place Gay third among SFs who played in 40+ games and averaged 20+ minutes per game last season. He finished in the top 20 (18th) in scoring last season and his 16.3 Player Efficiency Rating (PER), ranked him 10th among all SFs in the league, according to ESPN’s John Hollinger. Despite getting hammered before last season for his lack of defensive effort, those numbers weren’t that bad in 2009-10. Opposing SFs put up a PER of 16.2 when Gay was on the floor and the Grizzlie’s defense let up .2 points more per 100 possessions when Gay was off the court. The bottom line on Gay is that he is young and athletic and wouldn’t even be 30 by the time his presumed contract expired.
What Not to Like About Rudy Gay: Despite his scoring average and his numbers from 10-15 feet, he’s not a fantastic shooter. His .535 true shooting percentage, which accounts for three-pointers and free throws, ranked him 28th among small forwards. His .327 on three pointers, ranked him 117th in the league. To give you an idea on how below average that is, Courtney Lee (.338) was a better three-point shooter last year. And despite these numbers, he’s not afraid to shoot the three, launching 2.5 attempts per game according to Hoopdata. Then you have to consider Gay’s selfishness. It’s a reputation that’s dogged him throughout his career and the numbers last year don’t lie. His assist ratio of 8.6 percent, is a joke and ranks him 56th out of 62 qualifying SFs, according to ESPN. You also have to question where Gay’s game is trending. Looking strictly at PER, he hit his peak in his second year, 2007-08, with a PER of 17.34. He fell close to league average in 08-09 with a PER of 15.38 before trending upwards against last year. Where will Gay’s game trend after he gets his big payout?
Around the web on Gay: The Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro on whether Rudy Gay will get a max deal from someone: “Yes, the Grizzlies will let another team set the pricetag — that way, they don’t have to give him a sixth season — but somebody will throw a 5/76 offer sheet at him. The Nets, who thought he was the most talented player in the ’06 draft, are probably going to be one of them, if/when the LeBron pursuit fails.”
The Bottom Line from this Blogger: I’m not a huge fan of Gay and while he fills a positional need for the Nets, I just can’t justify giving a nice role player superstar money. I also question whether Gay’s on again, off-again defensive style and offensive selfishness would mesh well with Avery Johnson’s coaching style. It would appear, with the dismissal of Kiki Vandeweghe, that the era of unaccountability in New Jersey is over.