ESPN recently looked at the small forwards of the NBA and asked who the best, most underrated, most overrated and most promising small forward in the league are. Rudy Gay’s name came up, but not in a good way.

Raptors Republic’s very own J.M. Poulard was one of five NBA writers (although under the Warriors World banner) who contributed. There were only two unanimous categories: Best small forward (guess which one) and most overrated. This is what they had to say:

Who’s the most overrated small forward in the NBA?

Cavan: Rudy Gay. Few players personify the stats-eye test divide better than the supremely talented — and supremely flawed — Raptors wing. Where proponents point to Gay’s bucket-harvesting prowess and smooth flow, detractors, well, point to the numbers. The good news: after corrective surgery, Gay should actually be able to, like, see the basket. Which is important when you’re shooting a basketball.

Haberstroh: I’ll go with Rudy Gay, one of the last remaining idols of Points Per Game worshipers. Gay has all the tools to be an All-Star and he’s paid like one — did you know he’ll make more than Durant this season? — but his only above-average skill is shot-taking. Though he may be more overpaid than overrated, he’s not the franchise player that many believe he is.

Poulard: Rudy Gay. He will make roughly $17.9 million in 2013-14 and yet does not possess a single elite skill. He can create good shots but one expects a better conversion rate from the Toronto Raptor. His salary technically puts him close to the same level as Carmelo Anthony. But his production? Not so much.

Wade: Rudy Gay. Critics spurned the Memphis Grizzlies for punting on the season last year when they traded away their ballyhooed wing in favor of fiscal prudence. Then the team advanced further than it ever had in franchise history. Despite getting swept by the Spurs, this is damning evidence that Gay was merely an ancillary ingredient in the team’s success.

Young: Rudy Gay. In today’s NBA, small forward has become a position of production, and not just in raw scoring stats, but efficient, well-rounded production. Gay can score, but it’s in a volume manner. He’s a good player, no doubt, but is there one thing he’s really great at?

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  • SR

    I don’t know how you can say Rudy is overrated when he and his contract are so widely panned by anybody who writes anything about the NBA. I think what all these guys mean is he’s overpaid, which is very different. Since nobody’s high on Rudy Gay aside from fans of his current team, I don’t know how you can say he’s overrated.

    • Dr. Scooby

      Paid like superstar/franchise player, performs at sub all-star level = overrated

      • SR

        Completely disagree.

        “Paid like a superstar/franchise player, performs at a sub all-star level” = overpaid (look at that sentence again).

        Overrated is not the same as overpaid. Nobody around the NBA is currently overrating Rudy Gay’s impact. in fact the opposite is true – he’s become a metaphor for poor spending decisions. Big, big difference between overpaid and overrated.

        Blake Griffin is probably one of the leagues most overrated players. Given Zach Lowe’s last Grantland column, Demarcus Cousins may be another. Add David Lee and Joe Johnson to that list. All good players, but I don’t care what their salaries are – they get more hype than they’re worth. They’ve got glaring holes in their games and despite the Top 10 highlight plays and box score stats, it’s debatable as to whether or not their strengths are enough to provide a net benefit to their teams given their weaknesses (usually terrible defense).

    • Van Grungy

      Rudy Gay is overrated because he has coasted on his natural gifts alone.

      Rudy Gay has given the appearance of being lazy with his career.

      He’s also overpaid now

  • DDD

    overpaid. not overrated

    • Kate C

      I agree Rudy is more over-paid than over-rated, so I ask RR this – what is the right salary for a Rudy Gay?

  • elkabong

    as a non stats guru i am always interested in the take on the frequently used term “terribly inefficient” that is used to describe our own Rudy Gay. as a fan watching him play he strikes me as easily the most talented player to come here in quite some time. i’m not terribly concerned with what he’s done in the past but more interested in what he can do in the future. once he got to Toronto he played pretty darned good from my perspective and i thought a lot of the late clock shots and playing out of his normal position were much more coaching related than personal ability related but a total Casey rant is not coming at this time.he looked to be trying hard to fit in and not be a ball hog/volume shooter to me and i noticed several times even with limited viewing options on TV where he’d talk to Demar or Val or Lowry and seemed to be pointing out where they should have been moving to on a previous play. from a casual fans point of view his basketball IQ seems to be high.

    if you want to compare the PER/36 then look at his 2012 Memphis numbers just above his and you’ll see an uptick on every category across the board. was he playing with better or worse players once he got here? had he ever played the 4 before as he was asked to do here? count me in the liking the points per game category and just who else would you like taking those 17 shots a game? looking at his 19.5 points per game he scored in his 33 Raptor games.if you look at the league leaders this would put him at #10 if he could manage that for a full season. for the total season he was still #16 (Demar at 17) .the other thing i read a lot is that scoring is the easiest part of the equation to replace and i think wow top 20 type scorers are a dime a dozen just falling off the trees ….. really? we can just throw him back for a draft pick and end up with a top 20 type scorer?

    so what’s the magic number to be declared “efficient” these days? does he need to increase his shooting % to 45 or 50 or ? To get to 45 he’d need 14 more buckets so
    an extra layup every other game would do that. to get to 50 he’d need 42 extra buckets in those 33 games which is lot tougher but perhaps finding one extra layup or putback per game would put him at 48% so would that be enough? it seems to me in a better constructed offense and the playing time increase with the other obvious 4 starters he’s
    quite likely to get closer to that range

    it may come to pass eventually he’ll be dealt and we’ll focus on a rebuild but if we drafted someone and he became the next Rudy Gay would that really be that bad?. to expect the next Lebron/Koby is dreaming from my spot in the observation deck in the 2014,15,16 or whatever draft you want to look at since getting into the top 5 any time soon seems like the longest of long shots

    over rated or just simply overpaid my plan is simply to enjoy watching the most talented player we’ve had for quite some time even if he is a 14 mil player making 19 😉

  • Will BearsNation Williams

    No way he’s overrated, he played on a Memphis team stacked with talent and he has played awesome in a Raptors uniform..