San Antonio Spurs: Was Rudy Gay an underrated offseason signing?
By Rob Wolkenbrod
The San Antonio Spurs signed Rudy Gay in the 2017 offseason, and some NBA General Managers felt it was one of the most underrated acquisitions of the summer.
The San Antonio Spurs’ offseason was not flashy or headline-worthy like the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder or Minnesota Timberwolves. Even the Golden State Warriors, who did not lose anyone from their core, were spoken more of than the Spurs in the summer.
While Chris Paul, Paul George and Jimmy Butler were moved around, the Spurs acquired Rudy Gay, Joffrey Lauvergne and Brandon Paul. Gay was the most notable, but after an injury ended his 2016-17 season early, he signing created more questions than answers.
Despite the concern around the 11-year pro, some NBA General Managers liked the move. This was seen in the 2017-18 NBA GM Survey, which was released on Wednesday. The category was “What was the most underrated player acquisition?” Gay and Bogdan Bogdanovic tied for fifth, with seven percent of the votes.
Paul Millsap received 24 percent of the votes, with the Denver Nuggets signing him in the offseason. Avery Bradley’s trade from the Boston Celtics to the Detroit Pistons garnered him 17 percent. Jimmy Butler’s trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ acquisition of Jae Crowder each received 10 percent.
Will Gay become the most underrated offseason addition? That depends on his return from the Achilles injury he suffered in January. Players historically struggle to return from this ailment.
The recovery and production could be different for Gay, however. He likely will not be a full-time starter, with Kawhi Leonard locked in as the Spurs’ small forward. That might mean a sixth-man role, which the UConn product has not done in his NBA career. If that is the case, it could give San Antonio an experienced scorer that spreads the floor, which the majority of the roster already does.
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There is a long way to go before determining how successful the Gay acquisition will be. It is the first year of a two-year contract, with a player option for the second season, so his time in the Silver and Black may be brief or be a multi-year process.