As of late, a popular name has been coming up in the recent BaB comments as a person who could be a difference maker for the Bulls. That person being Rudy Gay. It seems to be an even on the fence attitude of Rudy with some thinking he could be the a possible solution to our offensive woes and others thinking that he and Deng are essentially the same (not that they do the same, but whether you play with either its going to be a wash).
Let me start off by saying, I love Deng. I love his heart and all that he brings to the team, and I'm not advocating that we trade for Gay, I'm speaking from a neutral position and giving the facts (I love Gay too as well so I'm not picking favorites).
If you look at the match-ups between the two over the years, you could essentially say it is a wash (Deng getting a couple more better of the two). A few things stand out between the battle of the two in my mind which makes it an interesting debate (Gay has been the more healthy of the two, Deng has the better coach in Thibs) but I think a main difference between the two of Deng and Gay that stands out most to me is one thing: Gay's mind.
People outside of the Grizzlies Org. seem to think that Gay presents a lackadaisical attitude when he plays the game. And while I'll agree that it looks like that, ever since he came in from college there have been virtually little to no questions about Gay's work ethic. Yes, I will admit that he has some more than questionable shots where you go "That wasn't the a good shot" or "What the hell was he thinking" or his defense which while was better this year, still can see improvement.
Over at Straight Outta Vancouver, the authors Kevin Lipe and Scottie "ForeignFlopper" Beattie have a front page article (The SOV Dialogues: Rudy Gay) discussing a few things about Gay. Some of the things that stood out were arguments like this
By the way, I think we ought to make a distinction here between laziness and lack of concentration. The former has been applied to a number of guys–Tracy McGrady or Eddy Curry, to name a few–of whom the general belief is that they failed to live up to their talents. However, I don’t feel it’s appropriate for Rudy. I know that his "motor" (take that as you will) was questioned in college, but as far as I’m aware, no one in either the organization or the local press has expressed any concerns regarding his work ethic since he came into the NBA. On the other hand, anyone who watches a Grizzlies’ game can’t help but notice many of the poor shots he takes or the matador defense that he is regularly guilty of. I’d chalk these up to a lack of concentration rather than laziness, but maybe that’s just me.
My thing with Rudy is that he’s clearly not thinking about basketball the same way that, say, Zach Randolphand Marc Gasol think about basketball. They’re thinking about the game, thinking about the plays they need to run and the spots they need to be in. Rudy looks like he’s thinking about the game at both a micro- and macro-level, like he’s worried simultaneously about shooting this crappy jumper over Caron Butler and Blake Griffin, and like he’s worried about how many points the team has scored in the previous quarter… and neither of those things are what anyone else on the floor is thinking about. Maybe he’s composing symphonies in his head, or thinking about novel new modal jazz chord changes.It’s like even when he does concentrate, he’s not concentrating on the same things as everyone else – which is both a positive and a negative quality.
If nothing else, this whole conversation simply affirms how enigmatic Rudy truly is. Has there been ever been another "scorer" who is totally content with only averaging 19 points a game? Although we love to complain about his high-volume ways, he’s never actually exhibited the pathological obsession with scoring that most "gunners" have. To give you an idea, this season he was only ranked 28th in Usage % among players averaging at least 30 minutes a game. Here’s a few guys that were ahead of him: Andrea Bargnani, Josh Smith, Paul Pierce, Tony Parker, Antawn Jamison, David Lee, Danny Granger, Al Jefferson. I think this is where your micro- and macro- concentration comes into play. It’s like just when he starts to dominate the offense, the macro-concentration kicks in and he realizes that his USG% is way too high (it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if this thought actually occured to him) and he immediately takes himself out of the offense. The thing is, up until this season, he was probably our best option on offense, which makes his conscience even more of a dilemma for the Grizzlies. It’s a bizzare situation for the team.
Also, I’m just going to throw this out there: part of the problem is that Rudy’s game clashes with the team’s style. For a team that prides itself on gritty, physical post-play, an athletic flyer who prefers to take contested jumpers sticks out like a sore thumb.
Honestly, it is a tough call if you ask me. On one hand Gay has all the potential in the world still and could have a higher ceiling compared to we know what the best of Deng is gonna be (injury history included of course). I don't believe that Gay will ever be the defensive player that Deng is (even with Thibs), but I don't think Deng could really be the offensive threat that Gay is.
The Grizz essentially play the same type of style we do. Gritty, balls-to-the-wall, all out effort (for the most part). Gay is a finesse player, Deng is a more physical player. But the thing that separates us from the Grizz (even though we are the better team overall) is that they have more consistent scoring all around. Gasol is a top 5 (probably 3) center, Z-Bo is a top 10 PF, OJ Mayo provides scoring off the bench, and Conley is no slouch in scoring himself. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about us. Its become more evident than ever that Rose is the engine and transmission of this team. No one outside of him can really create for themselves, even Deng. So the Grizz can afford to lose Rudy and still keep their team going.
If it came down too it, would you do a Gay-Deng trade? If I had to really think about it, I would have to say..................... yes. The need for scoring is just too much if you ask me. We can pride ourselves on defense all we want, but if we're holding teams to 72 points and only scoring 71, than its not getting us anywhere. What we lose in defense, I believe we'd gain in offense.
Gay is a volume scorer, but I'm not necessarily concerned about that because other than Rose, every one else seems pretty apprehensive to shoot or do anything with the ball not on the move. Gay can break down a defender off the dribble. If it's him and Rose (when he gets back) with Boozer, Noah, and whoever at SG doing the clean up work and taking whatever's left, I can deal with that. Plus, I think the totality of Deng's defense can be somewhat picked up through the bench mob.
Also, I do believe Deng would fit for the Grizz because it gives them one less person who needs the ball in his hands to operate, gives Gasol and Z-Bo a kick out guy, and it improves their defense (all assuming Deng is healthy...most of the time).
(P.S. Their contracts are close together, but Rudy's escalates over the years. I'm not good with logistics, so I'm not 100% how it would work out so I'm not gonna pretend I know what I'm talking about. This post is meant to be in principle).