The Sacramento Kings are in town on Friday to take on the Toronto Raptors and we know what that means. Rudy Gay will be making his first return to the Air Canada Center since being traded on December 9. The natural reaction for Raptors fans will be to boo Gay on Friday. He didn't live up to expectations. He lasted less than a year with the team. He took ill-advised shots. He wasn't the guy to turnaround the franchise and skyrocket the Raptors to championship contention. All these things hurt the Raptors and their fans, but should he get cheered on Friday instead of being booed?
Although Raptors fans may be mad or disappointed at Gay for his inability to constantly perform at a high level, they should cheer him as his departure made the team way better. He did have some good moments with the team, but unfortunately the negative outweighed the positive. However, if it wasn't for Rudy Gay, the Raptors probably wouldn't have the likes of Patrick Patterson or Greivis Vasquez in their lineup – two crucial pieces to their success thus far.
Without Rudy Gay, the Raptors are 27-14 and currently hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They have done a much better job sharing the ball and everyone seems to have bought into playing on the defensive end. They have the NBA's best fourth quarter defense and they have players who have bought into their roles and aren't trying to do what they aren't asked to do.
Having a player like Rudy Gay on the team let Masai Ujiri know exactly what he didn't want – an individual player who needs the ball in his hands to be successful. Don't get us wrong, Gay is an extremely talented player when he wants to be and he has played very well with Sacramento thus far. However, he is the type of player that needs the ball in his hands to make an impact. He hinders chemistry and slows down ball movement. He plays a lot of isolation basketball instead of sharing the ball to get his stats.
When we say to cheer for Gay when he returns on Friday, we truly mean it. The cheers don't all have to be sincere. Some people will appreciate what he did, while others think he was terrible. Sure some of the cheers for Gay could be sarcastic ones, but why not? We've tried the booing before. It didn't work for Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady. Instead it fueled them and led to them beating down the Raptors. Maybe we should take another approach and applaud Gay when he comes back to town.
Whether he gets cheered, booed or a mix reaction on Friday, it should set up for a good game with the Raptors looking to avenge their loss against Sacramento earlier in the year.
What kind of reception will you give Rudy Gay on Friday? Let us know by commenting below or by sending us a message on social media.
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