Jim Mone/Associated Press
Date: Dec. 9, 2013
Sacramento Kings got: Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy, Aaron Gray
Toronto Raptors got: Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez
For the second time in as many seasons, a team that traded Rudy Gay took off after dumping him. The Toronto Raptors have won 13 of 19 since Gay last suited up for them. The rest of the starters (i.e. DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson) have picked up the slack on the offensive end in Rudy's absence.
But the real surprise has come on the defensive end. According to NBA.com, the Raptors have been the second-most efficient defensive squad in the league since parting ways with Gay.
That makes sense, in some respects. Now that Rudy's no longer in Toronto to soak up a third of the team's possessions (and most of the shot clock therein), the remaining players have all become more involved in the flow of the offense.
And, typically, when guys get touches on one end, they're more motivated to put forth the effort, energy and intensity needed to succeed on the other.
What sets Rudy's latest move apart from the one from Memphis, of which he was a part last season, is that this year's recipient (the Kings) has reaped the benefits of having him around. Sacramento had won four of five prior to Friday's one-point loss to (ironically enough) the Memphis Grizzlies.
The reason for the turnaround, it seems, has something to do with Gay's gravitational pull within an offense. The Raptors suffered on account of Gay's magnetism since they didn't have anyone who could truly counterbalance his presence.
The Kings, though, have two such players, in Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins. That duo needed a third, specifically a wing scorer, to balance out the former's work with the ball at the point and the latter's exploits in the paint.
Now, if only Sacramento's defense didn't still stink...
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