It’s been a quiet last few weeks on the Houston Rockets front and NBA Free Agency front in general.
However yesterday, Steve Kyler (Basketball Insiders) casually dropped this little nugget on the Twittersphere:
Now whether or not you choose to believe what he hears is your prerogative. However, this tweet got me thinking…maybe Rudy Gay isn’t such a bad idea for the Rockets?
Space City Scoop
I’ll be honest and tell you that when co-editor Elliot wrote this piece about Gay and the Rockets, I turned a blind eye and didn’t bother entertaining such an idea. But yesterday when I read Kyler’s tweet I decided to think about it a bit more.
You see, Rudy Gay has a “chucker” label attached to him. Many, including myself, believe he loves to shoot, shoot, shoot and isn’t the best at it. When the Rockets played against him I always believed that letting Gay shoot the ball 25-30 times was in the Rockets’ best interests.
Delving into the numbers however, I was impressed to see his percentages and stats. In 70 games with the Sacramento Kings last season, Gay averaged 18.2 points and 6.9 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting from the field and 34.4 percent from distance. The season before, Gay averaged 21.4 points and 6.0 rebounds on 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 35.9 percent from distance. Those numbers are much better than I anticipated.
The Rockets hired Mike D’Antoni this past offseason, famous for his seven-seconds-or-less offense. One of the key players in that offense was Shawn Marion, who averaged between 17-21 points per game during the Suns’ runs to the playoffs. Marion shot better from the field, but was worse from long range.
I’m not hear to tell you that Gay can replicate what Marion did in that offense. However, Gay can be a pretty good option for the Rockets as they try their best to mimic what the Suns did last decade. While he won’t do as well as Marion, Gay is a good player and would likely come at a cheap price.
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The son-to-be 30-year old Gay is owed just over $13 million for this season. He has a $14.2 million player option after this season and will likely opt out to try and earn one more large contract with the bloated salary cap. Unless Gay has a Ty-Lawson-like season, he’d very likely earn much more on the free agent market next summer than the $14.2 million player option.
If I were GM Daryl Morey and the Rockets, I’d be happy to make a move for the veteran. Gay could start at small forward and lessen Trevor Ariza’s minutes. It would also give the Rockets a nice 3-4 option of small-ball with both Gay and Ariza on the court.
Trading for Gay shouldn’t be difficult with his value so low. Teams know Gay wants out of Sacramento so it shouldn’t be hard for the Rockets to pry him away. Corey Brewer would likely be one of a few pieces headed to Sacramento in such a deal.
Click here for more on the Rockets’ offseason.