Rudy Gay has gone from one of the NBA’s most divisive players – the litmus test for the eye test vs. advanced stats debate – to someone observers of persuasions believe is too inefficient.
The Grizzlies traded him and reached the conference finals. The Raptors traded him and are surging.
It doesn’t take any fancy stats to see that.
But Gay is thriving with the Kings, playing the best basketball of his career. He’s always publically dismissed his critics, and that’s certainly not going to change now.
Q: How much are you listening to some of the negative noise that’s out there nowadays about your game?
A: Honestly, of course, at times you think about it. You hear things that make you want to prove people wrong. But at this point I know who I am. And luckily the people here [with the Kings] know who I am and what kind of player I can be for this team. That’s all that really matters. So I just try to tune it out and just play basketball. If I can go out there and do [that], that’s the best I can do.
Except Gay has changed his game in Sacramento.
His 14.8 shots per game with the Kings would be his lowest over a full season since his rookie year. Per minute, he’s also shooting less than any season (or partial season in the years he spent with multiple teams) since 2010-11.
That increased selectivity has led to Gay making a higher percentage of his shots. By passing, presumably, on the attempts he’s less likely to make and keeping only the higher-percentage looks in his repertoire, Gay has raised his 2-point percentage to what would easily be a career-high, 56.1, and is getting to free-throw line more frequently than ever.
Gay should tune out the criticism during games. Overthinking during the heat of battle will only cause more problems.
But it sure seems as if he considered the critics before playing for the Kings.