Rudy Gay's 'presence' and 75 cents can get you a can of pop

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Harrowing words of praise for Rudy Gay from Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo.

Kelly Dwyer flagged this passage from Ian Thomsen's Sports Illustrated column, one sure to make anyone from Toronto cringe.

"Rudy [Gay] immediately gave our team a presence in the locker room; it's a quiet presence but a strong presence," said [Raptors GM Bryan] Colangelo. "I think he gives us a little credibility around the league. My counterparts, different media guys that I've talked to, agents, a couple of owners have commented that it's not every day you get a guy like Rudy at his level, and there's a little bit of star power that comes with it."

You'll remember the rumo(u)rs that Colangelo intends to offer Gay an extension this summer (despite Gay being under contract for two more years already and despite Colangelo's own future remaining in limbo). You match that rumor with this quote and ... yikes.

Presence -- quiet, strong, loud, gassy ... whatever -- is worth basically nothing without results. Before the Gay trade, the Raptors had a -1.6 efficiency differential in 46 games. Since the Gay trade, the Raptors have a -3.7 efficiency differential in 32 games. Most of that difference is found in the offense, which, you know, is supposed to be Gay's strength. Since February 1, Gay's Toronto debut, the Raptors rank No. 23 in offense. Strange what happens when you turn your offense over to an inefficient scorer, no?

Presence doesn't get you to .500: performance does. And while Rudy plays hard and has some excellent skills and fantastic athleticism, his shot has been badly off since a shoulder injury two years ago, and the numbers continue to show it. Presence doesn't boost that 41 percent field goal percentage or .448 effective field goal percentage of .500 True Shooting percentage (all well below average). Credibility around the league? Credibility around the league? Your team is 30-48, man. You should be more concerned with getting some wins around the league than credibility. Because with wins and only with wins comes credibility.

I (and many others) argued that in late January the Raptors elected to give up assets for the worst value on the Grizzlies roster, one whose name, profile and salary far outstripped his actual contribution to successful team performance. And here we are. Welp. If Colangelo keeps his job and throws more money at Quiet, Strong Presence and Credibility Around The League instead of efficient players or a couple of wings who can defend, then we shall weep for Toronto, because hope is gone.

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