Rudy Gay, a well-known NBA veteran, describes his time with the Utah Jazz in a nutshell.
“It sucked,” Gay said on Wednesday to NBC Sports Bay Area.
Gay is attempting to resurrect his career with the Warriors in this regard. To put it another way, he’s seizing the opportunity to prove he’s more than the team uncle he was with the rebuilding Jazz last season.
Gay, who is entering his 18th NBA season, wants to get back on the floor and play basketball again.
Yet he is aware that nothing is promised, neither a roster position, a slot in the rotation, nor the one-year contract he signed last week.
“I’ve got to prove that I could be in the rotation,” Gay states. “And that’s fine with me. I gave up my ego a long time ago. I am 37 years old. “I’m just looking to win a championship, so whatever coach requires.”
Gay’s expertise and size (6-foot-9, 250 pounds) drew the Warriors’ attention. Gay, a huge winger early in his career, lost some of his top athleticism after undergoing surgery in January 2017 to repair a torn left Achilles’ tendon. He returned to action nine months later, but has largely been employed as a power forward since then.
Some of the old fervor remains, and it, along with Gay’s expertise, will almost certainly be crucial to gaining a spot on the Golden State team.
“Rudy’s been great,” adds coach Steve Kerr. “He appears to be in good shape. His body is in terrific shape. He’s just an expert. He’s been around the league for a long time, so he knows what’s going on on the court. He’s clearly an extremely talented and skilled player.
“It’s wonderful to have him here in camp.” We’ll see how it plays out in the next few weeks.”
Despite the fact that Gay had other options, including some organizations that offered a faster road to a roster spot, he was sold on Golden State’s combination of veterans, championship legacy, and urgent ambition.
At his age, joining a club prepared to win now after a year of sparingly playing in one that is at least a few years away from contending is a simple decision.
“I’ve been a part of it too many times in my career,” Gay says of his experience as a veteran on a rebuilding squad. “I’m just trying… if I’m here, I’m going to be competitive.” Eighteen years in our business is a long time. This club has a lot of young guys by more than ten years in age, and it was even worse last year.
“However, I do have some veterans on this team, which is refreshing.” The music is amazing. It’s invigorating. And the Bay is a fantastic location.”
Gay would be assigned to the Warriors’ power forward and center positions, which are divided into three categories: guards, wings, and “bigs.” His 3-point percentage is variable (34.6 percent for his career, with five years over 37 percent and five years below 32), but it is unlikely to be stressed.
His role would be similar to David West’s a few years ago. Read defenses, set screens, and capitalize on pick-and-pop opportunities.
The rotation includes three big men: Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and Dario Sari. Gay, 6-foot-9 rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, and 6-foot-8 Usman Garuba, who signed a two-way contract last week, are the last remaining players.
“I just want to be a good piece that can do a lot of good things for this team,” Gay stated. “Things that can assist them in winning.” They fell short of that goal last year, and I want to assist them in returning to the peak.”
Gay may benefit from Draymond’s absence from at least two preseason games. It’s his time, and he knows it. If he is successful in his mission, he will be unveiled to the Warriors on opening night at Chase Center.