Toronto Raptors

Can Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan Turn Each Other into All-Stars?

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 30:  DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors dunks against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 30, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

With the Toronto Raptors' acquisition of Rudy Gay, there was a lot of speculation that he would clash with DeMar DeRozan, as the two have very similar skill sets. Over the first two games of the two of them being teammates, it seems that our fears were pointless.

In two games together, the two have averaged a combined 47.5 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor.

They've been a handful. 

The Raptors hung tight with the Miami Heat up until their fourth-quarter drought eventually knocked them out of the game, losing 100-85, but that came a day after they convincingly beat the Los Angeles Clippers 98-73.

It seems that the biggest boon to their new partnership is that neither of them are too concerned with being particularly ball-dominant, which may be a result of the fact that DeRozan was never incredibly ball-dominant in the first place.

Sure, as far as guys on the Toronto Raptors go, he was the wing who had the ball in his hands more so than anybody else.

However, it's not a situation like what we had when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade first teamed up together.

When James and Wade came together, we had two players who were, perhaps, the most ball-dominant players in the NBA who weren't point guards or Kobe Bryant suddenly thrust together in a situation where they now had to learn to share the ball.

DeRozan was a part of an offense run by Jose Calderon in which he had very few plays called for him to go directly into isolation.

While he's been more reliant on point guards in the past, he's getting assisted on over 50 percent of his shots, according to HOOPDATA, with the majority of his isolation possessions ending up with a mid-range jumper or a bit of work in the post.

Rudy Gay is much the same way, only he plays in isolation to a higher degree.

However, the most important thing for Gay and DeRozan is just that they're on the floor together. They fit well because they're both so good.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey sees their presence on the court together as nothing but a positive, according to Mike Gunn of the Toronto Sun.

Both guys take pressure off each other. You still can double-team DeMar and still send a guy or what we call a half a man, to him, but it's going to free up Rudy. You can double- team Rudy but it's going to free up DeMar on the weak side. Ultimately they are going to have to make a choice. Play DeMar one-on-one or play Rudy one-on-one. Those two guys will complement each other.

That's just the point of these two players. They're not superstar-caliber isolation players, so it's not like they've got big enough feet to step on each other's toes.

However, they are both good enough with the ball in their hands so that you have to have some kind of eye on them beyond a single defender.

Going forward, they're only going to learn how to play alongside each other to a more impressive degree, and get better along the way.

Both players are very good passers, and even though they're not the best shooters in the league, playing together is only going to lead to more open looks and escalating field-goal percentages.

Who knows, it could even give them a shot at an All-Star Game or two down the line.

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