Let's very briefly discuss Scoop Jackson's masterpiece of inanity on Rudy Gay, his midseason trade and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Not saying that the Rudy Gay trade in January was all about money [...], but saving cash was at the very center of why Memphis decided to part ways with the one player who proved scoring 20 points per game (18 ppg career average) and taking big shots came as natural to him as denial comes to Amanda Bynes.
He cited Gay's 18-ppg career average to make the point that scoring 20 points per game comes extremely natural to him. Winning math!
But this is what happens when a title-contending team in the middle of a championship-building season ...
"This" = a team that was 29-15 (.659) at the time of the trade and goes 27-11 (.710) the rest of the way while advancing further in the postseason than it has ever gone.
... decides to go "Moneyball" and forgets that (regardless of shooting percentage and PER) ...
Shooting percentage: feh.
... in order to win it all a team has to have a create-for-himself-bonafide-multidimensional-scoring-option-that-can-get-to-the-free-throw-line-at-will-and-score-from-3-when-the-clock-is-under-0.5-seconds-left player on your squad.
1. Rudy Gay was No. 3 on the Grizzlies in free-throw attempts per game and far lower in free-throw attempts per possession used.
2. Rudy Gay was No. 10 in three-point percentage on the Grizzlies, and sixth out of six Grizzlies in conversion rate among those who took at least two per game. But, you know -- shooting percentage: feh.
When the Grizzlies traded Gay, the Lakers still had a healthy Kobe Bryant, the Rockets had James Harden, the Clippers had CP3 and Jamal Crawford, Denver had Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari was healthy, Golden State had Steph Curry and San Antonio had its big three -- Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who are all capable of winning games single-handedly -- plus previous championship rings to back it up.
The Lakers, Rockets, Clippers and Nuggets all lost in the first round. In fact, the Grizzlies -- who did not have a create-for-himself-bonafide-multidimensional-scoring-option-that-can-get-to-the-free-throw-line-at-will-and-score-from-3-when-the-clock-is-under-0.5-seconds-left player on their squad, beat the Clippers themselves, as well as the Thunder, who had a CFHBMSOTCGTTFTLAWASF3WTCIU0.5SL (maybe the greatest CFHBMSOTCGTTFTLAWASF3WTCIU0.5SL of all) in Kevin Durant.
The Griz needed Rudy Gay more than OKC needed Harden once Russell Westbrook went down ...
The Griz without Gay beat OKC without Harden and Westbrook despite OKC having a player far superior to any of them in Durant. In five games.
Memphis had no backup or backup plan in case (as it did with Randolph) its No. 1 option/guy who could go for 20 slumped or was shut down.
And yet they made it to the Western Conference Finals, winning two more playoff series than Rudy Gay has in his entire career. Winning magic!
If anything, Memphis should have looked at Dallas and seen what can happen when "trying to save money" gets in the way of the game. The Mavericks have not been close to the same since they allowed Tyson Chandler to walk after the 2011 season.
You know how Dallas acquired the expensive Chandler despite being over the luxury tax threshold? Proper management of the salary cap and contract assets! Weird. Also: I am stunned that the Knicks, who made a WINNING NOT BUSINESS decision to sign Chandler, are no longer competing for a title. What gives, reality?
So what if [Gay's] shooting percentage wasn't the greatest, so what if he could at times be a liability on defense, so what if it would have been a struggle for Lionel Hollins to have him co-exist on the blocks with Randolph and Marc Gasol offensively.
So what if he's a drain on most aspects of the game of basketball while being one of the most highly paid basketball players on the planet.
Gay was the one player who had the ability to get the Grizzlies out of scoring slumps that seem to happen to every team, every season in the playoffs when facing great defensive teams becomes unavoidable.
With Gay, Memphis was 0-1 in playoff series. Without him, Memphis is 3-2 in playoff series. (He was injured for the 2010-11 run.) Seems like the Grizzlies did OK without Gay's IMPRESSIVE, VITAL, WINNING ABILITY to get the Grizzlies out of scoring slumps.
[T]he organization owed it to the basketball-side of their business dealings to at least for this season finish it out "as is" and see what their team would have done with the original parts they'd put together to make a potential June run.
The basketball operations people who made the trade owed it to themselves to ... not make the trade. Winning logic!
I am saying that the Grizzlies wouldn't have been taken out like they were or gone out like they did.
Finally, we agree. The Grizzlies wouldn't have been taken out like they were. In the Western Conference Finals. They might have gone out in first or second round.
Scoop Jackson basically wrote a less incisive, more shrill version of Adrian Wojnarowski's anti-trade column from February ... but with the benefit of seeing Memphis excel and Toronto languish after the swap. And he ignored that real evidence and wrote the dumb thing anyways. It's amazing, really.