Zach Randolph is obviously not fully healthy. Z-Bo's numbers in the playoffs this year are a far cry from his numbers from a year ago in the playoffs. It also might not be entirely his fault. Besides Conley and Gay, no Grizzly is getting theirs, and that's largely because of Rudy Gay. I've always been one of Rudy's biggest critics. There is nothing whatsoever about his game that I love. Nothing. I've always thought of him as an underachieving, selfish basketball player with unreal athleticism. He's also severely overpaid. He hasn't done anything in this series to dispel that notion. The Grizzlies would have been better off letting him walk. The transformation of the Grizzlies since the Pau trade has been largely because of Marc Gasol, Z-Bo, Allen, and the emergence of Conley. Rudy Gay has had little to do with it. There is a reason why this team was able to take down the #1 seeded, San Antonio Spurs, a year ago. At the time, I felt like the Grizz played so well because they didn't have Rudy Gay. Many thought that it was admirable what the Grizz did, and many were like, "and this was without Rudy Gay." Well, they were more stingy defensively and strategically balanced offensively without Rudy Gay last season. An offense that's built around Z-Bo coupled with unselfish players such as Gasol and Conley works. A defense anchored by Gasol with other worldly perimeter defenders in Tony Allen and Shane Battier works. You have a guy like Mayo who can come off the bench and give you instant offense. That's a recipe for success. When you lose Shane Battier and reinsert Rudy Gay, things become a lot more complicated. It's not as if Shane Battier is the type of player Rudy Gay is. Rudy Gay is obviously better at this point, but the Grizz simply needed a glue player like Shane who would get dirty defensively, and not take shots away from Z-Bo, Conley, Mayo, and Gasol. Shane Battier is a guy who does all the little things on both ends of the court, always makes the extra pass when needed, spaces the floor, and just in general, doesn't ruin the flow of the offense. There was more ball movement, more cutting, less standing around and watching by the Grizzlies last year in the playoffs.
|Memphis has had trouble getting everybody their shots this postseason.|
If you want to know why the Grizz are losing so many close games, and going on spurts offensively where they can get absolutely nothing, look no further than the Rudy Gay factor. I'm not the type who gives 100% of the blame to one player for a team's failure. That's just not fair and not fair to Rudy. Rudy has made a few big shots this series to keep them close in games. So he deserves some type of credit. I've had more of a problem with what he's done for the entire game, and not the last few minutes of it. He's failed to get his teammates involved, and has taken way too many shots. With that said, somebody else needs to step up besides Conley. Gasol needs to be more assertive. Z-Bo needs to play a lot better and be the banger that he is despite the fact that he's injured. I know Z-Bo can play better than this. Mayo needs to knock down some shots. He's been pretty off this series. Management is at fault for not recognizing the type of player Gay is and the fact that he doesn't fit with this roster as it's constructed. He's ALWAYS been this way. Assuming the Grizz go on to lose this series, they need to think long and hard about what to do with Rudy Gay. He is not a good fit for this team. He has to be dealt. You just can't lose to a team like the Clippers, who is really limited outside of CP3. On the other hand, you have to give CP3 his props. He's been a phenomenal leader, and showing why he's a top 5 player in the game, but the Clippers have no business winning this series. They are winning it because of his play, timely shots, Z-Bo not being himself, and mostly because of the Rudy Gay factor.