2013-14 Season in Review: Rudy Gay

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, he can play Small Forward.

2013-14 Stats:

55 GP, 34.4 MPG, 20.1 PPG, .482 FG%, .312 3P%, 5.5 RPG, 3.1 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.6 BLK, 3.0 TOV, 2.3 PF

Needs to work on:

  • Re-signing with the Kings
  • Defense
  • 3 Point Shot
  • Decision making

Analysis:

When the Kings traded for Rudy Gay, it was a gamble that Gay would be more like the player he was in Memphis than the one he was in Toronto.  It also helped that the only thing the gamble cost the Kings was John Salmons, Chuck Hayes and the expiring contracts of Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez.

Sacramento's gamble not only panned out, it surpassed expectations, as Gay had the best year of his career with the Kings, setting career-highs in Points per game, FG%, Assists per game and PER.  Now Gay is debating whether to test Free Agency or opt in to a player option worth $19.3 million.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Gay's improvement efficiency wise is that he upped his attempts closer to the basket and started hitting his mid-range jumpers at an incredibly high rate.

Shot Type FG FGA FG% % of Total Shots Taken
At Rim 150 210 0.714 0.249
3-10 ft 89 194 0.459 0.23
10-16 ft 72 152 0.474 0.18
16-23 ft 53 150 0.353 0.178
3 pt 43 138 0.312 0.164

(stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com)

He's so good at getting to the basket, using his long strides and long arms to make layups that are otherwise difficult for other players.  I would even like to see him attack the basket even more.  He still shoots way more 16-23 foot jumpers than necessary, and it's by far the least efficient shot he could be taking (while he shoots a lower 3P%, his effective Field Goal % on 3 pointers is equivalent to shooting 46.7% on 2 pointers).  Having DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas on the floor as well takes a lot of the attention off of Rudy, as Cousins draws double and sometimes triple teams.  With Rudy on the floor, the Kings were a better team, almost a full 5 points per 100 possessions better offensively.

Rudy also had his best year as a passer, with a career-high 3.2 assists per 36 minutes and 16.3% assist rate, decent numbers for a Small Forward.  However his assist to turnover ratio was just 1:1, which is not great, although with how often he has the ball in his hands it's a little skewed.  Many of his turnovers came due to his high dribble, which defenders have found easy to pickpocket.  He also tends to get in trouble when doubled and often times tries to make a difficult pass rather than a simple one (of which he wasn't the only Kings player at fault for this).

While Rudy was a blessing on offense, his defense left much to be desired, especially for a player as athletic and long as he is.  His On-Off stats show that the Kings gave up 2.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, not enough to overcome his offensive contributions, but still not good.  It should be noted that Gay played almost 20 games with the Kings this season in which they didn't have Cousins and/or Thomas on the floor due to injury so those numbers might be skewed a bit, as he actually was a defensive plus in Toronto and Memphis (although he was paired with much better defenders as teammates as well).  Still, should he come back to the Kings, a renewed defensive effort would be very welcome.

There is absolutely no doubt that Rudy Gay was a good acquisition for the Kings this past season and I hope that when he comes to a decision on his future, he sees himself as a part of Sacramento's future.

Tomorrow: Carl Landry

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