Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay is a talented player. At 27 years old, he's a top 10 player at his position and just starting to enter his prime. He has many tools to be great, but just hasn't taken the next step. Although talented, he doesn't showcase his skills on a consistent basis and he tends to settle instead of attacking the basket. In 2012-2013, Rudy Gay averaged 18.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Those are pretty good numbers, but imagine what he could be if he drastically improved.
A big knock on Gay is his shot selection. Standing at 6'8, he has a height advantage over many players at his position yet he tends to settle for jump shots. Last season, he shot 42.5% from the floor, including 33.6% from three point land. In 2011-2012, he shot 40.8%. Not ideal numbers, but perhaps there was a reason.
Another glaring number surrounding Rudy Gay is his salary. The small forward is on the books for two more years, averaging over $18 million per season. The old adage of "you're paid what you're worth" doesn't seem to be working for Gay. He is constantly scrutinized for being one of the highest paid players in the league, but not performing like one.
This past offseason, Rudy Gay had corrective eye surgery to fix his vision. He mentioned how it got so bad before that he barely got his license. So far, he has noticed a huge improvement and can see clearly. Maybe 42.5% shooting isn't so bad after all for someone who could barely see.
Rudy also noticeably added about 20 pounds of muscle over the summer. He looks bigger, stronger, more confident and ready to go. Look for him to use his size and muscle against smaller defenders as he punishes them near the basket. With his increase in muscle, he should be settling for less jump shots and attacking the rim on a more consistent basis.
Rudy Gay came over to the Raptors last year with high expectations. He had some game winners in his first few games, but then started to sizzle off a little bit. Knowing what we know now about his vision and the fact that he was trying to get acclimated to a new team and new city, we should all give Rudy a break and let 2013-2014 be the season he proves himself.
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