Fans of the Sacramento Kings have made their desire to add a stretch four to this team known loud and clear. Names like Ryan Anderson and Channing Frye were potential targets in the past. The Kings acquired Rudy Gay in the 2013-2014 season. Since acquiring Gay, coaches have come and gone, yet none felt the need to try something a little different. Some fans, myself included, have pushed to try Rudy Gay at power forward, and he just might be the stretch four we have always wanted! With George Karl taking over, we finally got a chance to see it on the court.
Rudy Gay is 6’8” and 230. His size and basketball smarts can make the transition to power forward at both ends of the floor. He helps space the floor for DeMarcus Cousins to operate in the paint with freedom, and can do just enough on the glass to make it work.
On offense, Gay can do all the things that make a stretch four valuable. He can shoot well enough from the perimeter to keep the opposing power forward honest. His speed advantage in most situations would also allow Gay to get around opponents and attack the hoop.
On defense, Gay could hold his own in most cases. There would be teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers that may require more size on the defensive end. Against these teams, Jason Thompson could play more and provide the extra size.
Apr 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Justise Winslow (12) lays the ball up over Wisconsin Badgers guard Bronson Koenig (24) during the second half in the 2015 NCAA Men
Moving Gay to the power forward spot full time would also give the Kings some much needed flexibility on draft night. There are a few guys the Kings could target if Gay is your four, including Justise Winslow, a guy I have been very high on for most of the college basketball season and through the NCAA Tournament. Hes a versatile wing that could fill in at a couple different positions. His defensive ability could allow the Kings to get to a point where they would be able to switch freely on most defensive possessions. If Winsolow isn’t the answer, Willie Cauley-Stein or Myles Turner could also make sense. Both players would provide rim protection on the defensive end, playing either next to Gay while DeMarcus Cousins is on the bench or playing next to Cousins.
Apr 12, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton (22) is fouled by Brooklyn Nets guard Markel Brown (22) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Free agency would also have a positive impact from Gay switching to power forward. Khawi Leonard, Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler will be restricted free agents this summer, and would be ideal fits, although all three are very likely to return to their current situations. Beyond those names, there are others that could be in play and would make sense next to Cousins and Gay along the front line. Khris Middleton, Jeff Green, and Iman Shumpert all fit, and could be had for reasonable contract offers. Sactown Royalty broke down the Kings current cap situation earlier this week. Middleton, Green, and Shumpert can all help on offense and on the glass. In Shumpert’s case, he is a tremendous defender, which is something the Kings are obviously looking for.
What the Sacramento Kings do this summer will be very indicative of their potential plans for this season, but Rudy Gay at power forward is something some would like to see, and should be part of the plan moving forward.