If Memphis Grizzlies star forward Rudy Gay appears to be a different ballplayer this season, it’s because he is. According to Gay, he has found maturity on and off the court. Per the Commercial Appeal: “Rudy Gay woke up one day and had a heart-to-heart with himself. He decided it was time to make a change. Gay thought he could give a lot more of himself and become a better teammate. And the soul-searching led Gay to ask his longtime girlfriend, Ecko Wray, for her hand in marriage. ‘It’s time for me to take control of my life,’ Gay said. ‘It’s not just about basketball. It’s about me personally, too.’ [...] He’s become more of a playmaker, averaging five assists in wins against Oklahoma City and Miami. He’s playing harder on defense, and filling up the statistical report the way coach Lionel Hollins says Gay’s talents dictates. The Griz have longed for Gay to affect winning beyond his effortless scoring, and he’s making a conscious effort to do just that. ‘There were times when a lot of things I did were spiteful,’ Gay said. ‘Maybe I would try to shoot my way out of a slump. I always felt like I could out-jump people, outshoot someone. One thing I’m learning is to be tactical and know when it’s time to be that person … I feel like I’ve changed a lot of people’s perspective of me. I’m doing just enough. I’m doing things within the confines of the team. I really just came into the season thinking how am I going to help the team?’ [...] Still, the perception of Gay is that his talent is behind that of Durant and LeBron James. But Gay makes a valid point: Those players flourish in different situations and have the same challenges guarding him as he does with them. Yet Gay, who is routinely criticized for playing matador defense, matched Durant and James on both ends of the court this week. ‘On another team I might have to do other things — the things that people compare me to those guys,’ Gay said. ‘But not on this team. If I went out there and had the ball in my hands for five straight possessions, I’d take away from Zach (Randolph), Marc (Gasol) and Mike (Conley). That’s not how we’re going to win. I want to win. I’m trying to play with a clear mind. I just want to be the best basketball player I can be. The Come to Jesus moment for me was just me saying if you want to win how can I make this team better? But it’s not just me. We all have that mentality now.’”