The summer months usually bring us myriad stories about players getting bigger/stronger, improving a specific facet of their game and generally vowing to come back more complete players, but here’s an off-season workout I didn’t see coming – Rudy Gay working on his post game with the one and only Hakeem Olajuwon.
(Sidenote: New Raptor Austin Daye was also working out with The Dream)
For the record, per Synergy Sports, Gay produced 0.79 points per possession in 101 post-up opportunities with the Raptors last season and 0.86 points per possession in 109 such opportunities with the Grizzlies. Not great, not bad (102nd and 61st ranked, respectively). But if Rudy wants to spend more time in the post this season as opposed to camping out between the free throw line and the three-point line, I’m all for it, especially if the Raptors want to use him at the four in some small ball lineups.
Last season, according to HoopData, NBA small forwards took an average of 2.5 of their 6.6 field goal attempts per game from within 10 feet. Gay took six of his 16.7 field goal attempts per game with the Raptors from within that same range.
Though the difference in the percentage of shots coming from close range for the average small forward compared to Gay is negligible (see Declan’s comment below), it’s still frustrating when you consider that from 3-9 feet, Gay shot a scorching 46.7 per cent where the league average was only 39.7 per cent and the average for small forwards was just 37.9 per cent in 2012-13. In other words, it’s an area of the floor Rudy should be targeting and capitalizing on more often.
If the Raptors want Gay to remain the focal point of their offence, he’s going to need to be much more efficient with his scoring. And if Gay wants to be a more efficient scorer, getting the ball in and around the paint more often seems like a pretty obvious strategy, along with improving his 31.9 per cent three-point shooting over the last two seasons.