Is Zach Randolph or Rudy Gay More Pivotal to Memphis Grizzlies Title Hopes?

Zachary CohenContributor IIISeptember 14, 2011

Is Zach Randolph or Rudy Gay More Pivotal to Memphis Grizzlies Title Hopes?

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    When Rudy Gay went down with an injury last season, a lot of Memphis fans had lost hope for their season. Their young, talented small forward was out for the year and it didn't seem as though they had anybody to lean on. This was when Zach Randolph stepped up and got the Grizzlies to Game 7 of the Western Conference playoffs. 

    Randolph played superb basketball throughout the playoffs, elevating his game from where it was during the regular season. Rudy Gay, however, was the teams leading scorer and go-to option on offense during the game, including during crunch time. 

    Continue reading to find out who out of Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph is more pivotal to Memphis in terms of winning an NBA championship. 

Rudy Gay

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    Something that Rudy Gay gives the Memphis Grizzlies that Zach Randolph can't possibly give them is some youth. 

    Gay is a proven go-to scoring option on a playoff team and at his age of 25, that's incredibly impressive. Gay hasn't reached his prime yet and has improved every season significantly throughout his whole career. 

    Randolph is a good player, but Gay, if he is the better player, would keep them contending for a longer period of time. 

Zach Randolph

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    Veteran Presence/Experience

    The exact opposite of what Rudy Gay can give the team, Z-Bo can give them. Randolph has been around the league for a while. He's been on a lot of different teams, but it seems like he's found his home in Memphis after signing a nice extension with the Grizzlies. 

    Randolph has learned from his past and has proven that he can be a part of a winning environment. Now he can use his past failures and learn from them. Randolph knows what he needs to do to win an NBA championship and he did almost everything he could last season in the playoffs. 

    It's easier to lean on a player with experience than a youngster who hasn't felt the pressure of the NBA playoffs. 

Rudy Gay

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    Flashiness/Excitement on the Wing

    Rudy Gay is a small forward with absolutely incredible athleticism. He gives the Memphis Grizzlies a go-to scorer who can create his own shot when he gets the ball out on the perimeter. 

    Gay's ability to finish has Memphis fans flabbergasted at times and his type of build physically gives him the potential to be a top 10 player in the NBA. 

    With more work in the offseason and if his shoulder heals properly, Gay could be a superstar for Memphis. 

Zach Randolph

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    A Dominant Big Man 

    It's been proven time and time again. NBA championships are very difficult to win without a big man who can take over inside the paint. The Miami Heat weren't able to win and that just might have been what they were missing. 

    Zach Randolph may in fact be the best low post player in the NBA today. If you give Z-Bo his touches inside the paint, he's guaranteed to produce. 

    You can say that he has Marc Gasol to make his job easier, but the statistics don't lie. Zach has been doing it for years and he's done it without Gasol. He's a dominant post player and that could make Memphis' guards jobs easy. 

The Verdict

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    It's a very tough decision to choose between the two players. It's even tougher because after both signed monster extensions, this decision doesn't even need to be made. 

    The player the Memphis Grizzlies would need to hold on to if they wanted to win an NBA championship would be...

    Zach Randolph

    Gay is a phenomenal young talent and he's going to do a lot of great things for Memphis, but in this situation you can't pass up Zach Randolph's low post ability. The Grizzlies made a nice run in the Western Conference playoffs without Gay and it's not a definite that Gay would've made it better. Something clicked in the playoffs that allowed Randolph and Gasol to dominate games by themselves and that might have been the absence of Rudy Gay. 

    Zach Randolph was an all-NBA third team performer this past season and although he's older than Rudy Gay, his play style isn't one that is going to fall when he's no longer able to jump. And that is because he can't jump now.