With Gay, the focus shifts back to a more offensive bent, but hopefully the team doesn’t forget about defence again. So far, with Gay in the fold, the Raptors are a robust 5-2, but have shown an alarming disinterest in defence. Only during Wednesday’s win over New York did it feel like the message Casey has been preaching finally was hammered home — that no team can win consistently or go deep into the playoffs without committing to defence first.
Paul Millsap, the rugged undersized rebounder of the Jazz, has been on the block for some time. The front court in Salt Lake City is extremely crowded, with talented young players hanging from the rafters. Millsap’s contract expires this season, and, like our previous trade candidate Josh Smith, Paul will command a hefty raise. I’m quite surprised he hasn’t been traded sooner, which causes me to wonder if Jazz EVP Kevin O’Connor has been stricken with Blue and White. There’s also rumblings of a difference of opinion in Utah as to whether Millsap should be retained, and Al Jefferson shipped out. If Bryan Colangelo could somehow bring Big Al to Toronto in trade, then sign him to a long-term deal, I swear I’ll write a “BC for Executive of the Year” post; that’s how highly I think of Jefferson.
In his seven games with the Raptors, Gay has averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game. His shooting percentage is low at 38 percent, but the statistics don’t tell the entire story for what Gay is worth to Toronto. Watching this team with Gay on the floor is like watching a revelation and an entirely new Raptors team. They have an instant chemistry, a palpable energy and noticeable confidence with him on their team. And why not, as he has already hit a few game-winners for Toronto. The Raptors are also 5-2 with Gay on their team.
He signed his nine and a half million per year contract extension ten seconds before the opening tip-off and DeMar DeRozan has been earning all of it most nights. He started out as a jump shooter but now he attacks the rim with abandon and is always close to the top in the NBA in free throws attempted. As he isn’t facing double teams his scoring will continue to flourish. If DeRozan continues his play more wins will come.
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