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I won’t lie. At times, Rudy’s play just seems bone-headed to say the least, but then there are games where he makes you say "man this guy is worth that $80 million" the Memphis Grizzlies gave him a few years back. The perfect example of that would be against the Oklahoma City Thunder game where he 12-21 for 28 points.
Then there are those games where he just won’t. Stop. Shooting.
But Wednesday's game showed us one thing: to be a serious contender in the Western Conference, this team needs Rudy Gay (or some other forward that can create his own shot and defend big wing players).
Once Marc Gasol stopped being aggressive, for whatever reason, this team struggled poorly to get shots off and often relied on the three-point shooters to bail them out and, of course, they went 5/15 from behind the arc.
The numbers support Rudy Gay being on this team regardless of what anyone thinks. When he’s on the court, the Grizzlies offensive rating is 102.2. Off the court? The Offensive rating is just 97.4. The defensive rating dips when he’s on the floor also. 95.6 on as to 99.8 when he’s off.
But numbers don’t do enough justice for Rudy’s presence. When it comes to small forwards that can create their own shots there are only a few in the league that come to mind: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony.
He isn’t as sharp as those players and at times we need him to be Lebron-esque. Other times he just needs to play within the flow of the game, but that’s where he struggles most
Of course if Mike Conley and Quincy Pondexter don’t go a combined 6 of 27, this article would probably be about how they don’t need Rudy and how they’re better without him — the typical Grizzlies narrative.