Why Memphis Grizzlies Should Keep Rudy Gay

PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 05:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Mark EvansCorrespondent IIIAugust 5, 2011

We all had the pleasure of watching the Memphis Grizzlies this postseason and of witnessing some of the young players grow up in front of our eyes.

Marc Gasol is all of the sudden considered one of the best centers in the league, and the comparisons to his brother are widespread.

Mike Conley showed us all why the Grizzlies decided to lock him up for years to come.

Tony Allen, Sam Young, O.J. Mayo, Greivis Vasquez, Darrell Arthur and Xavier Henry complete the list of talented young players that have Memphis fans very excited for the next couple of seasons.

Of course, there's Zach Randolph. Apparently, he has matured and is now the veteran leader, along with Shane Battier, that this young team so desperately needs. We all knew he could put up big numbers on bad teams, but to see him play the way he did in the playoffs was eye-opening.

They beat the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round, then proceeded to take the Thunder to the brink of elimination.

Oh yeah, and they did that all without Rudy Gay, the same player who was considered the team's cornerstone just a year ago.

After the playoff success, many of the "experts" suggested that the Grizzlies should trade Rudy Gay. The logic behind this idea? The Grizzlies did so well without Gay, so why would they need him?

If the Grizzlies are serious about trying to win a championship, they should hold on to their small forward and welcome him back with open arms.

For as well as they may have performed without him, it was still obvious that they missed his ability to score from the perimeter. Without a player like Gay in the lineup, teams will eventually lock in on Randolph and Gasol and allow Tony Allen to try to beat them from the perimeter.

A balance between inside scoring and perimeter scoring is important to winning in the NBA. It keeps the defense honest and creates better scoring chances. If you think Tony Allen, Sam Young, O.J. Mayo and Greivis Vasquez can provide the threat that Rudy Gay does over the course of a season, then go ahead, deal Gay. But I'll take my chances with Rudy any day of the week.

If the Grizzlies do look to deal their swingman, it would be very tough to get equal or superior value due to his bloated contract and recent injury. There is no way they would be able to get better.

For their sake, hopefully the Grizzlies won't get caught up in their success and trade one of their best players for fifty cents on the dollar. They need to remember that he is one of the top swingmen in the league and certainly one of the better perimeter scorers this league has to offer.

Follow me on Twitter @JrMarkyMark

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