Welcome to August, Grizzlies fans, where we're left to grasp for discussion pieces about our beloved Grizzlies. Yes, we're still eagerly awaiting the team's decision on whether or not they'll carry D.J. Kennedy as their 15th man, and we still are sitting on the edge of our seats as the Grizzlies will soon announce their preseason schedule. But, until we resolve said issues and fulfill our need to have our calendar circled in pencil, nay, marker(!), we have to find other things to keep ourselves occupied.
Friend of the site, Martin Knezevic, who runs blogNBAsketball.com, wrote a piece yesterday in which he wondered, is Rudy Gay a franchise player or... something else?
We've been down this road before on this site, but I still think it's an interesting discussion. Or, at the very least, something to help pass the time as we await the "D-J-Kennedy-cision."
[Before the start of the 2012 season], I was pushing hard for the Memphis Grizzlies to trade Gay because I thought he wouldn’t gel with the established ‘bigman’ crew of Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol.
Despite my bloggissizing, he played very well in 2012 (an All-Star snub to boot). Truth be told, Z-Bo’s torn MCL allowed for Rudy to take more shots and have a bigger role than I had originally anticipated. I can’t help but feel that this shift in production eventually lead to their 1st round loss vs the Clippers. At the end of those games they were looking to the perimeter more than the interior.
That reads into the biggest factor in this discussion: Fit. Does Gay fit into the grit-n-grind, Linoel Hollins system? You can argue that he does, but also make that case that he most certainly doesn't. Without Zach Randolph, sure, he played like an All-Star. But with a healthy Randolph, we've yet to see him play like anything more than...a star.
Again, we've been here before on this point, and I certainly think it's valid. Knezevic later asks, what would Gay do on a team like the Bobcats? Great question. I'd imagine that if Gay wound up in Charlotte, as the team is currently constructed, he'd probably average close to 25 points per game and help lead the team to about 15 total victories. So, superstar or, um, compiler?
I think the real question here is; how would you define a franchise player? Do you define one by his stats or individual accolades or championship rings or ticket sales or merchandise sales, etc.? Really it's probably all of those things combined, right? The elevator-pitch on how to define a franchise player is: someone who changes the face of the franchise. Right?
So can you tag Rudy Gay as someone who would change the face of a franchise? That's the real question here. And the answer is: No. But that's not slight on him. I mean, how many players in the NBA can you really say are franchise players? Maybe 10-12? At least as of today -- wouldn't call Tim Duncan one in the the sense that he once was a franchise player and we can't tag Anthony Davis as one just yet.
We could go on about what Gay is and what he isn't. The most important thing we can say about him is that he's a member of the 2012-13 Memphis Grizzlies, and he'll lead the team in scoring, and at times you'll want to trade him, and at times you'll say he saved our ass, and at times you'll wish he'd just stop shooting long jumpers...but we'll never fully agree on just what Rudy Gay is, outside of saying he's just a damn good basketball player.