Toronto Raptors Proving They Made Right Choice by Trading for Rudy Gay
USA TODAY Sports
The beautiful part about the deal is that it's brought so much to both the organization and its fans. Everything from faster action to a higher winning percentage.
He's truly changed the feeling and direction of the entire franchise.
Adding Gay has turned Toronto into one of the funnest teams to watch, but it's obviously about more than having fun. Every player needs to feel like they can have fun all while working toward a greater picture.
That greater picture is what every team strives for: an NBA championship.
Please, please hold your laughter. Nobody is saying that Toronto is anywhere close to reaching that goal. A ridiculous amount of work must still be done.
With that being said, all you have to do is watch one of their games and it would be difficult for you to think that they aren't on the right track.
Let's take a look at why the Raptors made the right decision by trading for Gay.
We'll go ahead and start this off with pretty much the only downside to the trade that took place. As good as the Raptors have looked in the 15 games since acquiring Gay, they are still yet to make too big of an impact.
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They went ahead and won seven of their first 10 games and everything was looking good. In fact, it seemed like Toronto was poised to make a run at the playoffs.
Something that most people probably didn't expect.
Then came the latest and current five-game losing streak that has left them with a 7-8 record since Gay arrived in Toronto. That kind of record certainly isn't bad based on how they were doing earlier, but people got excited after their hot post-trade start.
So what does losing five in a row mean? It has to concern you right?
In the grand scheme of things, these next couple of games don't truly mean anything.
The team's struggles and inconsistency keep from the team from becoming special.
Having a great record is hard to say, but they are slowly getting to a team that wins more games than they lose.
Take a quick glance at one of the scariest dunks in recent memory and you'll know what their athleticism brings to the table.
The NBA is a league of 30 different teams. Each one of them has their own identity and shares bits and pieces of a collection of organizations' identities. The league is full of athletic players that leave everybody's jaws on the floor, but there aren't many teams that get the "athletic" tag.
Toronto is easily at the top of that list, and for good reason.
Gay's addition puts him next to fellow high-flyer DeMar DeRozan. Their games aren't identical, but good luck trying to keep either of them away from the rim for too long.
Those two players are only scratching the surface of what the Raptors bring to every game athletically. It is impossible to try to convince anybody that adding Gay didn't help this team on the athletic front. That isn't saying that athleticism alone wins games because it generally doesn't. It is saying that Gay's addition puts this team in another realm of athleticism.
The point is that what Toronto has on their hands is truly a unique situation and combination of athleticism.
Chances aren't too likely that they'll waste it.
Strong Starting Five to Build Around
Break down every team's starting lineup and you'll be forced to make some tough decisions. There are teams that easily have better starting fives than the others, but the game of basketball isn't played with the present and nothing else in mind. One of the most important aspects of a starting five involves everybody's favorite P-word. (Maybe not your favorite one, but it is interesting how much we all say it).
That word is potential.
Most teams are built for this year or the next. The average lifespan of the same starting lineup is unbelievably short, and that only means that the team will have to start the process of building team chemistry over and over again.
Do the Raptors have a starting five to build around, or are there still pieces missing?
Then there are the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani, and Jonas Valanciunas make for one of the most intriguing lineups in the league. All of these players are still in their 20s, and each one still has a long career ahead of them.
Will Toronto be able to keep this core group of five players together long enough for anything to come of it? That is still unclear.
What is clear is that adding Gay to that lineup turned it into one that people won't want to play in two or three years.
That alone is a good enough reason for the Raptors to bring in the star small forward, and he's only proving them right.
All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through Mar. 4.
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