While I’ve since forgotten the exact play that allowed Rudy Gay to down the Orlando Magic with a buzzer-beating game-winner back on Halloween, I still remember his post-game interview from that night: “When it comes down to it,” Rudy told the Grizzlies’ sideline reporter, “I think I should get the last shot.”
At the time, I took this as an official declaration of what we’ve known since the Pau Gasol was trade: that the Grizzlies are Rudy Gay’s team. But then O.J. Mayo got involved. After taking a few games to get his NBA feet wet, the rookie started cranking out 30-point outings, and if the box scores are any indication, is moving in on Rudy’s territory as The Man in Memphis.
Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal points out Rudy’s recently “up and down” play, and Mayo’s supposed role in the whole thing:
“[Gay] is willing to accept many of the theories for why he’s struggled to find consistency. But Gay appeared amused at the notion that he’s engaged in a personal battle to keep pace with rookie guard O.J. Mayo’s extraordinary scoring.
“I don’t have to compete with my teammate,” Gay said with a broad smile. “It’s not like that. We’ve been the two people on the team that’s been consistently scoring. If anything, I feel I can score every night with O.J. rather than compete with him. What O.J. does on the court helps me out a lot. We help each other a lot more than people think.”
Through 17 games, Rudy is averaging 20.2 points, while Mayo is dropping 21.9 a night. Gay’s field-goal (43%) and three-point (25%) shooting is down from last year, and while no one expected the Grizzlies to be much better than their 4-13 record at this point, they’ve looked especially awful at times and hardly improved — at least some of which has to fall on the franchise player.
If you had to pick one, who should get top-option status on the Grizzlies: Gay or Mayo?
Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal