As the statistical focus has shifted from category totals onto the way those numbers are compiled, quantity-over-quality players like Gay have been exposed.
Obviously, that's not good for business. Not when the eight-year veteran is chewing up nearly $18 million of Toronto's payroll:
So Gay has taken a novel approach to silencing his biggest critic. He's refusing to acknowledge the stat sheet and, per the Toronto Sun's Mike Ganter, has forced his teammates to do the same by banning the papers inside the team's locker room.
"We’re not playing for stats,” Gay said, via Ganter. “We come in here after losses, after wins and people are staring at those stat sheets, but that’s not what we’re about."
In theory, there's almost something commendable about Gay's action. The idea that team performance trumps individual stat lines is one that coaches have been preaching for years.
But how do we know his teammates were scanning over their own numbers? Or could it be that they were simply searching for an answer as to why Gay leads the team in field-goal attempts (18.9 a night) despite posting a field-goal percentage that reads more like a batting average (.375):
Raptors coach Dwane Casey still has access to the stat sheet. Surely he'll be the one to intervene, right?
“I don’t look at Rudy as an analytics poster child,” Casey said, via Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star. “Winning is my analytics.”
Hmm...might want to consider a different measuring stick there, Coach. Unless Gay has also restricted access to the league standings, it's hard to think Casey would give these Raptors (6-8) a passing grade.
At least one person in the organization understands the importance of analytics—first-year general manager Masai Ujiri.
"It's a great part of the game to know," Ujiri said of advanced statistics before the season, via Eric Koreen of the National Post. "Our job is to find out what’s the next thing that is going to be advantageous to us and contribute to winning."
Yes, that would be the same Ujiri who was given a five-year, $15 million contract to fix the Raptors. His loyalties to Gay and Casey? None. Both were in Toronto before the executive arrived.
So, Gay might want to keep hiding those stat sheets. It doesn't take a business major to figure out that $18 million for a nightly dose of 19 inefficient points is hardly a sound investment.