Debate: Should Rudy Gay Start At Power Forward For the Sacramento Kings?


Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Having a stretch four seems to be coming the new trend NBA team feel they need to have in their roster now a days.

Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl runs the offensive style of “space and pace,” meaning the team will be taking a lot of three point shots and will be looking to score off of as many fastbreaks as possible.

Many see Rudy Gay as the teams starting small forward, but could we see him switch that position to the power forward spot?

With the Sacramento Kings preaching “positionless basketball” and the desperation to be an up and down, fast pace team moving Gay to that stretch four role could be exactly what this team wants (or needs) in this system coach Karl runs.

In my opinion, I truly believe that come opening night, Rudy Gay will be the Sacramento Kings starting power forward.

This has been an idea that has been floating around since Rudy’s time in Toronto, when the Raptors were going to have Gay become their stretch four next to young center Jonas Valanciunas. Now in that situation it didn’t seem to have worked out too well, but with the Kings, they tried the idea throughout the closing games of the 2015 season, and it seemed to have worked.

Even during this offseason Karl, Vlade, and Rudy have came out publicly and stated that they plan on playing Gay “more at the four.”

Here is Rudy during an interview on siriusXM:

The short stint we seen from the Kings experiment of Rudy playing power forward, was really put on display during a five game span from 3/22/15 – 3/30/15.

The lineup on those nights were:

Ray McCallum

Ben McLemore

Omri Casspi

Rudy Gay

DeMarcus Cousins

Through those five games Omri Casspi did not start once and there was also one game that DeMarcus Cousins missed.

During these five games, Gay held per game averages of 20.6 points, 5 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field (all stats courtesy of

The Kings would finish those five games with a 3-2 record, not a huge record to go off of, but still you have to like that fact that there are more wins than losses.

Looking at the style of play the NBA is transitioning into, it’s all space and pace, and shoot a tremendous amount of three pointers.

Look at the teams who we all got to watch in this years NBA finals; the Golden State Warriors power forward was held by Draymond Green (a stretch four). The Cleveland Cavaliers, though they finished their playoff run with Tristan Thompson as their starting power forward, the team was looking at having three point shooting Kevin Love be their stretch four.

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Three point shooting is going to be a key factor for the Kings under George Karl‘s offense and as much as everyone is going to want to have rookie Willie Cauley-Stein to be the starter for the Kings, looking at how the roster is shaping up, I just don’t see that as a great idea.

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings and Rajon Rondo inked a one year deal worth $10 million and that pretty much indicates that Rondo is going to be the Sacramento Kings starting point guard.

The nine year veteran, has one of the best visions on the court and can make some incredible passes, but as a shooter, I could beat him in a game of “H.O.R.S.E.”

Rondo, for his career, shoots an amazing 26% from three point range (sarcasm at it’s finest). If the Kings are planing on making Rondo the teams starter and want it to work, that means they need to surround him with players that can knock down shots, when he finds them for open looks.

Picture this lineup:

Rajon Rondo

Ben McLemore

Omri Casspi

Rudy Gay

DeMarcus Cousins

Now does that lineup look spectacular? No, probably not, but Casspi was the team’s best three point shooter last year, shooting a crazy 40% from beyond the arc. You have now surrounded Rondo with shooters in three positions, while also having a big man down low to hold his own presence.

Speaking of the all-star big man, DeMarcus Cousins; do you all remember how many people have been preaching for a stretch four to be paired next to Cousins, so he has more room to operate down in the low post? Having Rudy become that stretch four helps the team with their spacing, and also with isolation plays, for anyone on the floor.

Defensively will he be mismatched?

Of course, but at the same time Rudy will also give his opposition that same mismatch against the bigger forwards out there that are tasked with the job of guarding him.

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  • Everyone I seem to talk to about this, finds that defensively is why they don’t feel this could really work, to that I say, how many true power forwards are in the NBA right now?

    You just saw two examples earlier with the teams in the NBA finals, but let’s look over even a few more: Ryan Anderson, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Josh Smith.

    These are all names that I feel Rudy would not have that hard of a time defending, but would have more of the mismatch on the opposite end of the floor.

    Now the great thing about this lineup, is that I don’t feel it has to necessarily have to be the Kings “go to” lineup.

    The team has created depth with their offseason acquisitions of Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli, Willie Cauley-Stein, Rondo, James Anderson, and Caron Butler. I am also one of those people who believe the saying “It’s not about who starts the game, it’s about who finishes the game.”

    If the team rolls out with Rudy Gay as the team’s starting four man, then I understand it because of the skills he has to hold down the position. But if in the closing minutes of a game, Karl decides that having Cauley-Stein and Cousins be the two catalysts for his frontcourt, then I completely understand that as well.

    Rudy Gay is the player that is their front line piece, when it comes to defining their idea of “positionless basketball.” Coach Karl is going to be exploring many different lineup situations in which you will see Rudy float between both forward positions.

    What it will come down to is this: how are the Kings going to fit the players they have on the floor?

    We brought it up earlier and I feel that the Rondo being basically non-offensive threat, he needs to be surrounded by players that can knock down shots, and DeMarcus could benefit from having room to operate in the low post, whether that means he is looking to score or look for the open shooter when he gets doubled.

    According to, Rudy is currently 230 pounds; if Rudy checks into training camp at 250 pounds, then you will 100% see Gay as the Sacramento Kings starting four man.

    We want to know your thoughts; do you think Rudy can sustain being the team’s starting power forward or do you feel he is better suited being the team’s small forward?

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