What does the Rudy Gay trade mean for the Grizzlies and Raptors? (Photo : Reuters)
The Memphis Grizzlies may be second-guessing their decision to trade star small forward Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies' dismal performance in their loss to Oklahoma City last night, their first game without Gay, proves that the team will need some time to adjust to the absence of their former leading scorer.
The loss may have a detrimental impact on the Grizzlies' Western Conference playoff chances, but the stars $37.2 million contract over the next two years weighs too heavily on the Memphis budget. But how severely will the trade hinder the Grizzlies' organization? And how can Gay help catapult the Raptors to a winning record?
The Grizzlies' offense is currently ranked in the bottom-10, and Gay as their former leading scorer, the Grizzlies' offensive arsenal is now left paralyzed. Their next best offensive player, power forward Zach Randolph, is now the teams leading scorer with 15.7 points per game.
The team still has one of the strongest defensive units in the league, anchored by center by Marc Gasol, but will have difficulty outscoring high-powered offenses like Oklahoma City's later in the season. Someone needs to step up, but it's unclear as to who's capable of filling Gay's shoes.
As for the Raptors, their acquisition has the potential to turn around the young and struggling team. Perhaps not this season, as they're currently 16-30, but certainly looking forward into the future. With their young and talented point guard Kyle Lowry slowly returning from his November and December injuries, he'll finally be back on the starting roster now that Jose Calderon is gone, according to USA Today.
As a starter, Lowry averaged 15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. His stats coming off the bench have been remarkably lower. Now that Lowry yet again has a chance to shine and with the strong shooting of both Gay and DeMar DeRozan on the wing, the Raptor's offense is destined for improvement.
Having Lowry back on as a starter and Gay as an additional offensive option, the Raptors will also benefit from fewer forced shots from DeRozan. He may get fewer looks, but will likely find better shot opportunities, generating a more consistent Toronto offense, which the Raptors having been struggling to bring together.
The Grizzlies still show playoff promise with a 29-16 record, but it will be interesting to see how the decision to cut costs and trade Gay will affect them, especially after their performance against Oklahoma City. It will be more exciting to see how the Raptors' offense shapes up. Their new offense has the potential to give the Raptors organization the boost it so desperately needs.