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[Commercial Appeal] In Gay, Griz got good guy

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Yaowaming, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. Yaowaming

    Yaowaming Contributing Member

    Nov 18, 2002
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    In Gay, Griz got good guy
    By Don Wade
    July 2, 2006

    About this much, everyone seems in agreement:
    The Grizzlies' trade -- Shane Battier to the Houston Rockets for No. 8 pick Rudy Gay and Stromile Swift -- was about giving up the present you do know for a future that might develop into so much more.

    In Memphis, this has meant balancing the loss of Citizen Shane with the gain of a potential NBA All-Star in Gay, who played two years at UConn and was even talked about as the potential No. 1 pick in this draft.
    In Houston, fans who were disappointed with the Rockets' long and hard fall last season wonder what they've lost tomorrow -- even as there's no questioning that they received a solid player for today in the five-year veteran swingman that is Battier.

    So, in the end, maybe it's just about the timing: the right deal for the right team at the right time. As Rockets All-Star Tracy McGrady said in the aftermath: "I think Rudy's going to be a pretty good player. But what we need right now, this season, is Shane Battier."

    Without a doubt, Gay and Battier bring different things to the court. Gay, a 6-9, 220-pound forward, enters the NBA with half the college experience Battier had and, dare we say, twice the leaping ability.

    And yet there are similarities, too. Gay's agent, Lance Young of Octagon, also represents NBA Rookie of the Year Chris Paul of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets; Paul also could have won an award for Classiest Newcomer to the league.

    "Once I knew Rudy and Chris were friends, I knew Rudy was a good guy," said Young.

    Yes, that's agent talk and an agent's opinion is only slightly more biased than a mother's. But everything Young says about Gay sounds like an echo of everything said about Gay during his college career and heading into the draft.

    Those who are displeased that the Grizzlies lost their so-called "face of the franchise" in this trade, should be pleased when they get their first good look at Rudy Carlton Gay Jr.

    "He's got the million-dollar smile," Young said. "He's as humble and personable a kid as I've ever met. He wants to be a face of a franchise."

    This franchise.

    True, the developments on draft night -- being selected later than he anticipated, and then being traded -- stunned Gay.

    But in a telephone interview Friday, he said he was past all that.

    "I'm ready to get started," he said.

    If his track record means anything, Gay will not hit town with a spoken request or unspoken desire for the Grizzlies to throw him the darn ball. Remember, he was one of four guys from UConn taken in this draft's first round.

    So he's used to sharing. Gay, who turns 20 in August, averaged 15.2 points last season as a sophomore and on a less talented team he easily could have scored more than 20 per game. The Sporting News named him its National Freshman of the Year when he averaged 11.8 points for UConn.

    "All the guys were just coming off the (2004) national championship," Gay said, referring to his freshman season. "Me, I was just coming in to play my role."

    While people have raved about his athleticism and also seem to respect his skill as a shooter (37.8 percent from 3-point range at UConn), he arrives with the knock of being a guy who's not assertive enough.

    His harshest critics might even suggest that his "unselfishness" intersects with passivity and, in tandem, holds him down.

    "I'm happy with my season," he said of his sophomore year. "People are going to have their opinions."

    On draft night, when seven teams said no to him, the Hartford Courant reported that Gay said, "I'm going to make every one of those teams that passed on me pay."

    He said Friday that comment was accurate.

    "Yeah," he said, "that's my intention."

    Young said Gay comes to the Grizzlies with high, but realistic, expectations.

    "The best thing is they've got Pau Gasol," Young said. "Rudy's not going to need to be the first option. But his goal is to win Rookie of the Year and to make the playoffs."

    There's another goal, too: starting to become a, if not necessarily the, face of the franchise.

    "I plan on coming in and being a role model for kids and being active in the community," said Gay. "I'd do that even if I wasn't following Battier."

    But since he is following Battier, here's a little personal information about this new resident of Memphis:

    He likes variety in both his music and his barbecue.

    "I listen to a little bit of everything," he said. "Rap, R & B, and pop. Barbecue? I like ribs, chicken, really anything from the grill."

    Ask him if he's anticipating the first meeting with Houston and a chance to turn the heat up on the Rockets, and he laughs for several seconds -- time enough to carefully consider his answer.

    "I'm looking forward to playing everybody," he finally said, showing the kind of diplomacy that would make Battier himself proud.

    -- Don Wade: 529-2358
  2. SirCharlesFan

    SirCharlesFan Contributing Member

    Apr 8, 1999
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    It's getting to be a real cliche in the NBA for a guy that falls further down the draft board than expected to say "I'm going to make all of those teams pay!" I remember when Caron Butler fell to Miami a few years ago everyone was making a huge deal out of it--then Butler says "everyone will pay!!" Yeah, I'm sure people are damn upset that they missed on Butler...
  3. alexdapooh

    alexdapooh Contributing Member

    Nov 3, 2002
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    Makes me sick just reading that.
    He's gonna unleash hell on the Houston Rockets next season.
  4. tiger0330

    tiger0330 Contributing Member

    Mar 2, 2003
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    It won't be long before Rox fans find out how good Rudy Gay is. If he is good enough to start he will, there won't be any honeymoon for Rudy on the Griz. Seems like a good NBA citizen as opposed to a story I read about Tyrus Thomas who said he was going to get his first NBA check in 20 dollar bills, throw it on his bed, roll around in it and then take it back to the bank.
  5. munco

    munco Member

    Feb 13, 2003
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    But you don't think people would rather have Butler than Battier? Caron Butler had a very good rookie year and despite tough injuries he's played very well. He's an 18/6 guy despite battling through injuries.
  6. ClutchCityReturns

    ClutchCityReturns Contributing Member

    Apr 26, 2005
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    I hope you're not being sarcastic with that last statement, but let's face it...you are. Caron Butler is very damn good...so what are you talking about? I believe that 8 out of the top 10 teams DO regret passing on him. I could argue pretty easily that every single one of them would be better off with him on their team in place of the guy they drafted...

    Mike Dunleavy
    Nikoloz Tskitishvili
    Dujaun Wagner
    Chris Wilcox
    Drew Gooden

    I wouldn't trade Caron Bulter straight up for any one of those guys given their career output thus far.

    I'm not even counting Jay Williams because his career was sidetracked by the motorcycle accident, but even as rookies you can't argue that Williams was the right pick.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this same thread could be made about Rudy Gay in a few years time.
  7. SirCharlesFan

    SirCharlesFan Contributing Member

    Apr 8, 1999
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    My point was this...Yeah, Caron Butler is a very solid player in the NBA...but he (and some of the commentators) were acting like he was going to be an all NBA 1st team type of player his entire career. He's the 3rd best player (and not even close to the other two guys in front of him) in the top 10 of the 2002 draft, and 3 of the guys picked in front of him suffered career/season ending freak injuries. Dunleavey, Gooden, and Wilcox are all solid rotational or starting players in the NBA. The only out and out flop in the NBA is Skita, and maybe Wagner--but he had major injury problems that he ran into.

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