Dwane Casey believes the acquisition of Rudy Gay will be a big boost to his new teammates on the offensive end of the floor, especially for DeMar DeRozan.
The Toronto Raptors coach was a guest on the Brady and Lang Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday and he thinks his team is more relaxed since the addition of the former Grizzlies forward.
“It gives them an air of confidence,” Casey explained. “It relaxes guys around (him) when the ball does come to him. Especially Demar.”
Casey believes that the defensive attention that Gay will attract from opposing teams will create better spacing for DeRozan.
“It takes the heat off of him because now teams can’t double team or send a man-and-a-half to him to put pressure on him when he has the ball,” Casey said. “They have to really respect Rudy because they can’t just leave him open or really cheat off of him.
“He draws a lot of attention on the offensive end. A lot of help goes his way, so now when the ball does come down around to DeMar, it frees him up, it gives him a little bit more room to operate.”
Casey said it will be a few more games before Gay is full in tune with how the Raptors like to operate.
“(He’s) still learning the nuances of our team. (He’s) still learning the offence. (He’s) still learning the terminology defensively. So he’s kind of going by the seat of his pants, so to speak,” Casey explained.
In the midst of his sixth season in the NBA, the former UConn star has been around the block a few times, which should help him operate until he has a complete grasp of the Raptors offence.
“The basics of the NBA offences he can pick up just from his experience, but to really exploit something or really to be able to do something on the fly just through communication I think that’s very important against good defensive teams, so it may take two or three more games before he is just totally dialed in,” Casey said.
While Gay has been impressive in his first two games with the Raptors, Casey believes he will only get better once he is dialed in.
“He’s going to get better and better as we go along just because he is going to know the terminology and you really aren’t going to have to call a timeout to show him the next phase of the play,” the Raptors coach said.
In Memphis, Gay was seldom the first option for a team that featured Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol down low, but the Raptors intend to exploit his capabilities.
“He enjoys moving up the pecking order, as far as I think. In Memphis I think he was more behind Zach (Randolph) and behind Marc Gasol — not so far as talent-wise but as far as the emphasis of their program,” Casey said. “They were an inside-out team. They were going to start the ball inside with Zach first, and then when it came out it was Rudy’s turn. With us, a lot of it is going to be around Rudy and DeMar.
“That’s kind of the emphasis that our offence has taken.”