In what feels like a redundant storyline, the Thunder are interested in Rudy Gay, although he’s coming off an achilles injury.
How can he help the team?
Versatility. He’d be the best forward on the team offensively.
At 6-foot-8, Rudy Gay would presumably fill the role of small or power forward, a position the Thunder are desperately in need of from an offensive standpoint. All three of the Thunder’s “small forwards” have underperformed offensively, with Jerami Grant and McDermott finishing at the bottom of ESPN’s RPM. Andre Roberson defensively is as good as they come, but offensively he may be one of the worst if he’s not slashing towards the basket. Gay is the opposite. He’s a very good scorer, averaging 18.4 for his career and an average defender. Not good by any means, but certainly not bad defensively.
The Thunder may not have to spend much.
Coming off an injury, the Thunder can possibly get a steal for an almost 31-year-old, injury prone veteran entering his 11th NBA season. The Thunder have had a harder time getting Gay to come down from his high price, but his torn achilles injury last season may be the excuse for him to finally do so.
He can shoot the rock.
He isn’t the best 3-point shooter in the world, but he’s certainly better than Roberson (26 percent). His 37 percent from three last season would rank him third on the Thunder. Jerami Grant had a surprisingly high three-point percentage last season as well, shooting 37.7 percent. If the Thunder can get both Gay and Grant shooting right around 40 percent next season, things may really pan out.
What may go bad?
Shot selection isn’t the best.
Gay isn’t the best when it comes to shot selection. He’s very ball dominant and doesn’t take the smartest shots all the time, which hurts spacing. And spacing is very important for a point guard like Russell Westbrook.
Gay is an above average 3-point shooter, but only a quarter of his shots are from long distance. 44 percent of his shots came from 10-feet and in. Therefore, by his shot selection, he resembles the average stretch four, A.K.A. power forward. Something that the Thunder don’t need right now.
The Thunder would need him to step that up and step beyond the 3-point line with confidence.
Will he take a backseat role to Russell?
Like mentioned, Gay is very ball dominant. He shoots a lot and likes to create off the dribble. With Westbrook being his point guard, he may be asked to spot up quite often.
This move should be stashed in OKC’s back pocket just in case they can’t land any bigger names, that probably being Blake Griffin. If they sign Gay for cheap, they can work out a deal for Enes Kanter and move his contract to another team, while keeping the offense from that power forward position alive.
Free agency technically started yet and things are beginning to heat up at a rapid pace. This Thunder team could look slightly different next season.