Rudy Gay helps to establish a new team identity in Sacramento

Are the Kings actually developing an identity?

12/10/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

As a Kings fan, I'm pumped that GM Pete D'Alessandro made the move for Rudy Gay. Yeah, I get it, brainy GMs and much of the blog-o-verse agree that he's overrated and overpaid, but I'm sticking with my guns here.

February 19, 2013; Washington, DC, USA;  Toronto Raptors small forward Rudy Gay (22) dunks the ball against the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Raptors won 96-88. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsWithin the last two weeks, the Kings have won a grand total of one game (an OT thriller in Utah that may ultimately loom large in the "Sorry-for-Jabari" sweepstakes) but they've also become one of the more athletic bad teams in the NBA. And that's a whole lot better than what they were before: a non-athletic bad team.

On November 26, Petey D shipped Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to Minnesota for Derrick Williams and this week he traded some spare parts and a couple of decent players to Toronto for Gay, Aaron Gray, and Quincy Acy. From the Toronto perspective, this moves looks a whole lot like an attempt to clear salary by Masai Ujiri. From the Kings perspective, however, this move could actually be a real piece of the rebuilding strategy rather than a stepping stone for future moves.

Williams has already given Kings fans a taste of his athletic prowess and now, with Gay, the people of Sacramento can start to envision a high flying, defensively intense team of their own. I'm not saying either player is a star, especially not Williams, but the combination of these moves appears to indicate a general direction and philosophy focusing on athleticism and playing with speed on both ends of the floor. It's a philosophy that D'Alessandro's previous two employers, Denver and Golden State, believe in as well.

Now for the tricky part. For this move to really pay off for Sacramento, Gay needs to improve those pesky efficiency numbers. His shooting stats are at a career low while he's chucking more than ever. That has to change. 

This is also the part where, admittedly, my pro-Kings bias could get in the way of reality, but here it goes: Michael Malone is a genius and I love him and he's the best thing ever!!! Michael Malone seems to be a strong leader and, based on players' behavior, seems to have had an immediate impact on their effort.

Marcus Thornton, probably the team's third of fourth most talented player, got benched for his lackluster defensive effort. Now he plays sparingly and gives more effort when he is on the court than I've ever seen him give before. Malone should be able rub off on Gay too. Gay is coming to the Kings to shut people down on defense and make sure Boogie gets his; if he doesn't do that, Malone won't let him off the hook either.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview