|Since being traded to Sacramento from the Raptors, Gay has totally reinvigorated his career|
Former UConn Huskies and Memphis Grizzlies star forward Rudy Gay has seen many twists and turns, for the good and bad, during his NBA tenure. He was amazing while with the Grizzlies, consistently scoring 19 points per season while routinely making more than 45 percent of his field goal attempts on a deep team that was always in the Western Conference playoff chase.
Then, in a move motivated by fiscal purposes, he was traded in January of the 2012-13 season from Memphis to Toronto, and spent the second half of the season with the Raptors. Not in Canada for long, he was dealt yet again in early December to the Sacramento Kings in yet another money-focused trade, before he even played a full year with the Raptors.
Even with the flurry of big trades Gay has been involved in in recent years, it appears as if he has finally returned to the elite level of play that characterized his time with the Grizzlies.
The Toronto stint was a nightmare, especially the 2013-14 portion of it, as the 6-foot-8 swingman was hovering around 38.8 percent on field goals in the 18 games he played with the Raptors this season. So far with the Kings, in 20 games, he's at 52.5 percent, which — if done throughout an entire year–would shatter Gay's personal shooting record.
This transformation from an inefficient, statsheet-banning, embattled player to one playing with confidence, productivity, and success is extremely notable, rare and unlikely. During the doldrums of his Raptors days, it looked as if Gay's days (unintentional rhyme, I promise) as an effective NBA starter were numbered. Now, with a fresh start in Sacramento, as evidenced by his 41-point outburst last night on 64 percent shooting in a win over the Pelicans, Gay is becoming a star again right in front of our eyes.
He is not hoisting up 37 shots anymore, just to make 11 of them (like he did November 11 against the Rockets in a Raptors' loss). Now, he might take 19 shots, make 12 (January 15 against the Timberwolves in a Kings' win), and still get his 33 points.
New team, new coaching system, new country, new conference, new Rudy Gay. Sometimes a simple trade is all that is needed for a player to fix their game. In Gay's case, that couldn't be more true.