One of the major things that hurt the Spurs in the playoffs was lack of space in the paint to operate. It was far too easy for defenders to cheat and give help when Kawhi Leonard drove to the bucket, especially at the end of games. Spot up shooters are only so dangerous, Gay gives the Spurs a player that can hit the three (shot a solid 38% from behind the arc) and drive as well. He is a bonafide scorer and has averaged 18 ppg for his career. Defenders will be forced to play him honestly and this will open the lane a bit for drives by other players on the team.
2) Fourth Quarter Scoring:
Finally the Spurs have another scorer that could potentially create his own shot at the end of games. Last year, opposing teams always knew where the final shot was going--to Kawhi Leonard at the top of the key. Now with Gay on the squad the Spurs can do a better job of keeping opponents guessing in tight games. The Spurs were at the bottom of the league when it came to driving the basketball; Gay will likely draw fouls for the team when it counts most. He was a 86% free throw shooter last season. Playing alongside Leonard will also elevate his game and give him better looks at the cup than he received in Sacramento.
1) LaMarcus Aldridge:
Aldridge has struggled being a second option for the Spurs in the playoffs, if Gay emerges as planned then he could take a lot of the scoring pressure off of Aldridge and this could in turn elevate the big man’s game. If the Spurs improve perimeter offense then that will likely free up things a bit more in the paint and Aldridge can then create easier baskets for himself. Aldridge will still be a big factor for the Spurs, they are going to need the disgruntled star to get back on track and maybe Gay can assist in that.