Against all logic, the deluded chatter propping up Rudy Gay as a star player continues. In a post for SB Nation, Tom Ziller explains exactly why that’s not the case – and why treating Gay like a star is both typical of Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo and unfortunate for the future of the Raptors franchise: “Star power” is so useless. The Raptors have always drawn pretty well, despite typically mediocre rosters. Marketable stars are good for the bottom line because they can draw the attention of the casual fan…
“What happens is we’ve got to compensate for Kyle — that’s a habit of his, going into get the boards — we’ve got to get guys out of the corner,” said Casey. “Once that shots goes up, the corners have to get out and start getting back to the paint. “That’s something we’ve been working on because we know that’s a habit of Kyle’s, we’ve been trying to break him of it, it’s a hard habit to break and he’s been successful with it.”
His biggest strength has to be the energy, effort, and passion he plays with. Early in his career Bassy was put into situations where he had to be the man on a bad or rebuilding team, the Suns put him in a position to be successful with the reserves. He can spearhead a full-court defense as well as any guard in the NBA allowing opportunistic athletes on the wing the ability to create turnovers.
Whether or not Colangelo is given the opportunity to deal Andrea Bargnani is a major question. Either way, it appears the writing is on the wall for the seven-foot Italian. The mass booing of Bargnani on his home floor made it clear that this fan base is no longer willing to accept him on this team, and it’s hard to blame them. He hasn’t come close to living up to the expectations placed on any first overall pick, not due to a lack of talent, but due to a lack of effort. Any GM sane man knows that it’s time for both sides to get a fresh start.
Sure he has his faults — there are nights when the ball is not falling for him and Anderson stubbornly launches three-point after three-point attempt regardless — but for every night like that there are nights where those three’s are falling and combined with his willingness to attack the basket provides scoring the team might not otherwise have. Even that is only part or what Anderson brings. He is no one-trick pony. His toughness as a defender, his refusal to back down to any opponent — recall Dwight Howard walking off the court with this second technical after tangling with Anderson in early January — and his veteran savvy when it comes to positioning are the kind of talents that don’t show up on a stat sheet.
“That’s the problem of what the NBA is about nowadays. When I came into the league I had already had six or seven, eight veterans who had been in the league for nine or 10 years. We learned from them. They taught us. They made us go and take bags to the car. They made us become men. Told us how to do this, how to do that. Then when these kids now are getting drafted, they’re 19. You become a star of your team at 19. The next year, that same team if you’re not that good you’re going to draft another 19 year old star. Now this 19 year old star is coming into this team with this star just turning 20 and he’s saying, ‘You are a leader? You’re not, you’re the same age as me. We’re going to go play PlayStation together.’
With the game against Golden State, we finally saw the starting lineup that you know Bryan Colangelo envisioned when he traded for Gay. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are all “Colangelo guys” and represents the vision he has for this team. The problem is, it’s a very flawed vision. Obviously, the attraction to having Lowry, DeRozan, Gay and Bargnani on the court together is that it gives you four players who can score from just about anywhere on the court, giving the Raptors a potentially potent offense, as we saw when they scored 118 points (their second highest total in regulation this season) against Golden State, on Monday night.
Having not made it to the playoffs since 2008 and having not made it past the first-round since 2001, it’s easy to understand the Raptors’ urgency. Signing Gay to an extension before he is eligible to explore his options acts as fail-safe against him snubbing them in 2014 or even 2015. What it doesn’t do is guarantee they’ve got their hands on the player they’ve been desperately searching for. Assuming Gay is willing to sign an extension this summer—his refusal to would present a whole other issue in itself—can the Raptors say, with 100 percent certainty, he has what it takes to be the face of their franchise? To lead them back to the postseason? To help them contend for a title?
The problem with Gay on the Raptors actually arises on the other end of the floor. He may be leading the Raptors in points per game, but has done so on just 39 percent shooting from the floor and 23.3 percent shooting from 3-point range. The biggest problem with Gay shooting that inefficiently is that he leads the team in field goal attempts at 18.8 per game, and takes four 3-point attempts per game as well. Since acquiring him, the Raptors have made Gay the focal-point of their offense. When he’s on the floor, it’s rare when a play doesn’t run through him. That schematic choice, coupled with his poor shooting, has caused the Raptors to really stumble on offense.