With the three-team trade that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto now more than 24 hours old, let’s dive into some news and notes following the blockbuster…
Bryan Colangelo tells media everything is on track at the moment for Rudy to be in uniform tonight. #Raptors
— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) February 1, 2013
Either way, whether it’s Friday or Sunday, the Air Canada Centre is probably going to be a madhouse. I’ve mentioned more than a few times this season that the crowds have been pretty good even against lower tier teams (The ACC was rocking for Saturday’s loss to Kyrie Irving and the Cavs), and even those of us who hate losing Ed Davis still see Rudy Gay as the closest thing to a star this franchise has had in the last three years, so throw him into the lineup on a night where the ACC will probably be sold out anyway (Clippers, Heat), and you have yourself what should be a pretty entertaining atmosphere to watch a basketball game in.
UPDATE: As if the possibility of Rudy Gay making his debut tonight wasn’t enough to get your juices flowing, there’s this…
Casey says both Andrea and JV went through shootaround but don’t know if either will play tonight.
— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) February 1, 2013
Well this weekend just got a hell of a lot more interesting. Moving on…
- If you believe in talented players being able to build some momentum with one great game, then Gay’s most recent performance should have you encouraged. After a brutal eight-game stretch that saw him average just 13.1 points on less than 36 per cent shooting (culminating in a 3-of-17 shooting night on Sunday against the Hornets), Gay broke out of the slump with an impressive performance in Philadelphia on Monday where he posted 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and a block. Here’s hoping that’s more like the Rudy Gay that’s on his way to Toronto.
- While I completely understand the excitement many Raptors have over Gay’s potential to bounce back and the subsequent affect that might have on Toronto’s immediate results, I will caution fans not to get too excited when talking about the possibility of sneaking into the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. The Raptors are currently 6.5 games behind Boston for eighth and I maintain that a 40-42 record will probably be required to make the playoffs in the East. At 16-30 right now, that would mean the Raps probably have to go 24-12 the rest of the way to get in. Even with Gay, that just doesn’t seem possible.
I think the more realistic hope for Raptors fans should be that Gay has an impact this season and just gets the Raptors back into the race (maybe 2-4 games out) and into some more meaningful games later in the season. If Rudy can help the team do that, and if Bryan Colangelo can get creative with his roster management to parlay Andrea Bargnani and possibly even DeMar DeRozan into another significant asset while utilizing the amnesty provision this summer, then there’s no reason for fans to expect anything less than a return to the post-season next year. I’m not saying he’s a prognosticating genius, but Kenny “The Jet” Smith mentioned on TNT Thursday night that he thinks the new-look Raptors could have been a top-four seed in the East if they were together from the beginning of the season and stayed healthy.
- In case you haven’t heard it from at least five different sources already or in case you feel it hasn’t been adequately shoved down your throat yet, I’ll remind you again that Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry are best friends and that Gay is actually the Godfather of Lowry’s son. “Chemistry” for the win!
- One thing the Raptors probably will have to address this season is adding depth at the point guard position. John Lucas III is fine as a team’s third point guard and occasional off-ball guard, but if you’re serious about playing competitive basketball for the last 36 games of the season, I don’t think you can get away with Lucas as your primary backup, especially with Kyle Lowry seemingly cursed by the injury bug again this season.
For what it’s worth, Ben “Mr. Triple-Double” Uzoh is averaging 15.3 points, 5.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals in the D-League right now. I’m not saying…I’m just saying.
- If you’re wondering, Ed Davis makes his return to Toronto with the Grizzlies on February 20, while Jose Calderon will make what should be an emotional return to the Air Canada Centre with the Pistons on April 1. Since the Raptors already played in Memphis this season, Rudy Gay won’t make his highly anticipated return to the Music City until next season.
- Last thing to touch on, Dwane Casey has been fined $25,000 for publicly criticizing the officials after Wednesday’s disgraceful missed call at the end of the game cost the Raptors yet another potential win. This is in addition to the NBA failing to publicly recognize their obvious game-changing error, as they actually have done on two separate occasions with the Raptors this season. I guess the Association figures that as long as they don’t admit it, we can only say their refs screwed the Raptors twice this season instead of three times, and as Meatloaf once famously said, two out of three aint bad!
What a joke.