The players on the Sacramento Kings have been through a lot this season - they are in the midst of their third system under their third coach after all.
Rudy Gay says he has head coach George Karl's system down "mentally," which is progress from January when he felt "lost" under Tyrone Corbin. But he is still hoping to get some direction on what the front office wants out of him this offseason. Gay, who signed an extension with the Kings a month before Michael Malone was let go, had this to say when asked about his goals for the offseason that begins in less than a week.
"It's kind of different. I never really; for the most part I've always been with the organization and I kind of knew what they wanted me to do. But you know, I have to sit down and see what those guys; see what they want from me next year and try to come in as close to that as possible," Gay told Sactown Royalty.
With the coaching changes and recent report that Vlade Divac has leapfrogged general manager Pete D'Alessandro, it isn't too surprising Gay is uncertain at this point what management will want out of him going into the 2015-16 campaign because the front office and the roster could end up looking completely different. Despite the turmoil of this season, he has had a career year - his scoring (21.1), rebounding (5.9) and assists (3.7) are all higher than his career averages. His field goal percentage, however, did come back down to Earth to his career average of 45 percent as compared to his hot shooting when he first joined the Kings last season.
After missing three games due to a concussion (the second of his career), Gay played Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and didn't appear to skip a beat, tallying 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Following this performance his teammate Omri Casspi, who has been playing pretty well himself lately, wasn't surprised by Gay's bounce-back effort.
"Rudy is a special talent. You know, I told him that a few days ago. I guard different guys in the league and Rudy just has a special talent," Casspi told reporters.
Unfortunately, Gay was not able to use those talents in Wednesday's game because he was still experiencing headaches after the matchup with the Timberwolves. He has been ruled out for Friday's game in Oklahoma City against the Thunder as well.
Regardless of how many more games Gay plays or how many of the final games the team wins, change is close behind, right ahead and all around. The nine-year veteran said it is still a tight-knit locker room and the chemistry of the Kings is strong despite the roller coaster ride this season has been.
"We're still here, we're still united, we're still a team and we still like each other," Gay said. "We do things together and I think they make sure that we stay close, but as far as basketball I think we're still learning."
The players and the front office have a lot of learning to do this offseason to right the ship before the final season in Sleep Train Arena arrives.