Top NBA Players: #32 Rudy Gay

May 5, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay (22) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Nick Young (11) during game three of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at the Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Grizzlies 87-86. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Rudy Gay
Resume: 19.0 points, 6.4 rebounds (career best), 1.5 steals, 37.3 minutes (8th in league), 46% FG, 31% 3PT, and 79% FT… Team record in games played: 41-24 (0-1 without)… Playoffs: 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 42% FG, 83% FT, 3-4 record

I’m taking two debate classes this semester, and let me tell you, there is a lot more to debates than just arguing. You need to worry about your pathos, ethos and logos, what kind of claim you are making, who your audience is, the Toulmin Model and a whole bunch of other stuff normal people don’t understand. Since I can use all of the experience I can get, I’m going to debate myself on the topic of “The Memphis Grizzlies better off without Rudy Gay.” I will be playing the roles of both the affirmative and the negative in this debate. Both sides will get an opening statement and a chance for a refutation. Buckle yourselves in, here we go!

Affirmative: Over the last couple years Rudy Gay’s role has expanded thanks to a developing game and a changing team around him. We’ve seen Gay go from a complementary perimeter player to Pau Gasol to an established star in a blink of an eye. Let me say that one more time… Rudy Gay is an established star. However, that is not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is whether or not the Grizzlies are better off without Rudy Gay. I had to make the statement “Rudy Gay is an established star” twice because it seems like nobody knows this, and why should they? The most anyone has seen or heard about Rudy Gay over the last two years was when he sitting on the Memphis bench with his arm in a sling when the Grizzlies very nearly made the Western Conference Finals without him. You can’t play basketball with your arm in a sling. So naturally, what are people going to think about Gay when they see his team playing at a seemingly higher level without him on the court? They are going to think that he isn’t that valuable. His presence on the Memphis Grizzlies is overrated. If you look at the postseason results over the last 2 seasons, it is clear that the Grizzlies had much more success without Rudy Gay. Also take into consideration that the quality of opponent that the Grizzlies faced without Gay was far greater than that of who the Grizzlies faced with Gay in the lineup. Without Gay, the Grizzlies defeated the 1 seed in the West, and took the 4 seed Oklahoma City Thunder, just one year away from making the NBA Finals, to seven games. In the 2012 postseason, the Grizzlies lost to the Clippers in seven games, who were swept in the next round by the Spurs.

Negative: It has been apparent since his days as a Connecticut Husky that Rudy Gay is an incredibly gifted athlete who could very easily become a very special basketball player. Gay was selected 8th overall, but is the 3rd best player to come out of the 2006 Draft class behind Rajon Rondo and LaMarcus Aldridge. As the affirmative mentioned, Gay is an established star who the Grizzlies rely on as their go-to-guy down the stretch. It should be known that Gay has a very strong resume when it comes to game-winning/game-tying shots. His size, form, high release and ridiculous lift on his jump shot make it so tough to contest. He’s a solid perimeter defender, and was one of the last cuts for the USA Olympic Team this past summer. That alone should show Gay’s value.

When looking at the differences in postseason results, you have to consider not just Gay, but the rest of the Grizzlies roster. In 2011, Zach Randolph had one of the more notable postseason runs in recent memory. In
2012, Randolph was far from being the same player. His points per game totals dropped by nearly 9 points per game. Mike Conley and OJ Mayo were also not as effective in the 2012 postseason as they were in 2011. Additionally, you have to consider the back half of the roster. When you look at the 6th-9th men of each of the two teams, the 2011 Grizzlies got much better production from their bench than the 2012 Grizzlies did. Replacing Shane Battier, Darrell Arthur, Sam Young and Greivis Vazquez with Marreese Speights, Quincy Pondexter, Hamed Haddadi and a much past his prime Gilbert Arenas was out of Rudy Gay’s control.

Affirmative: I would like to challenge my opponent’s assertions of Rudy Gay’s assumed value to the Grizzlies, as well as his supposed “clutchness.” If Gay were as valuable as my opponent states, why is he a frequent visitor to the Grizzlies Trade Block. If you Yahoo! search Rudy Gay trade rumors and scroll through the first ten pages, you will see trade rumors involving 9 separate teams. Clearly, the Grizzlies are aware that they are better without Gay. I’d also like to point out that in two games during the 2012 postseason (games 1 and 3) Rudy Gay had chances to win the game with a shot at the buzzer, and in both instances he missed. Perhaps his late game heroics are a bit over exaggerated.

Negative: What my opponent fails to mention is that in game 3 of the Western Conference 1st round, Rudy Gay made two 3 pointers in the final 11 seconds to even give himself a chance to take a potential game winning three. The bottom line is this, a player as talented as Rudy Gay always makes a team better.


So who won this debate? I did. Well, I, as the negative did. I am a firm believer that had Zach Randolph been healthy all year long the Grizzlies would have had more success in the playoffs than they did. I also truly believe that the 2011 Grizzlies supporting cast was much better than the 2012 Grizzlies. I said it in the Zach Randolph section and I’ll say it once again, if the Grizzlies can stay healthy they will be in the mix in the very top heavy Western Conference. Therefore, you can’t totally say the Grizzlies would be better of without Rudy Gay.