Enjoying efficient Rudy Gay
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I have a theory that Rudy Gay was abducted by aliens shortly after arriving in Sacramento from Toronto.

But these aliens were not the steal-your-talent Space Jam kind. Rather, they were benevolent givers who made Gay better than he ever was before.

I mean, that has to be it, right?

There's no other explanation for Gay going from a 38.8 percent shooter on 18.6 shots per game with the Raptors to hitting his 14.9 field-goal attempts per game at a .526 clip with the Kings.

Gay has now played 17 games with Sacramento compared to 18 with Toronto, so this isn't a small sample mirage.

The small forward piled up 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting Wednesday at Minnesota and has averaged 22.9 points per game with a .567 shooting percentage his last 10 games.

Gay hit 47.4 percent of his shots or better in nine of those 10 games. In 17 games with the Raptors, he made more than 46.7 percent of his shots exactly once.

Besides extraterrestrial intervention, the roster and offensive system Gay joined with the Kings also may have something to do with his improved game.

With Toronto, Gay was able to dominate the ball and was tasked with creating his own shot a majority of the time.

The Kings have DeMarcus Cousins, who leads the NBA with a usage rate (the percentage of a team's offensive possessions a player uses when he's on the court) .333, and Isaiah Thomas, whose usage rate is 25.5 percent, so Gay hasn't had to create his own opportunities quite as much.

According to Zach Buckley of Turner Sports, 61.2 percent of Gay's field goals have been unassisted with the Kings, compared to 66.2 percent with the Raptors.

In Wednesday's shredding of the Timberwolves, Gay was set up on six of his 12 made shots, including four at the rim. He's made 65 percent of his attempts at the rim with Sacramento after putting in just 43 percent with Toronto, reports Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland.com.

Gay not having to dribble, dribble, dribble and attack like he did with the Raptors and Cousins drawing defenders out of the paint absolutely are reasons why Gay has made the massive improvement close to the basket.

Gay has scored 30-plus points twice in the last five games, including Jan. 7 when he dropped 32 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Prior to that, he hadn't scored 30 points since Nov. 17, in a game that also came against the Blazers. That day, Gay needed 27 shots to reach 30 points. On Jan. 7, he needed just 16.

Same opponent, two different versions of Gay.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.