And now we enter the sphere of the speculative, the apprehensive, and the hopeful. Terrence Ross was drafted by the Raps with the #8 pick this summer, and as someone who was there can attest, the team’s fans were gobsmacked (“Terrence who?”) when the selection was announced. Young Master Ross completed his sophomore season at Washington (the state, not the city), then declared for the NBA draft. His second season in college was highlighted by a doubling of both his PPG to 16+, & his RPG to 6+. His teammate Tony Wroten was drafted #25 by Memphis, which causes me to conclude that the other Huskies must have been unusually weak. Two top 25 picks from one school, and the best they can finish is as semi-finalists in the NIT? Yuck. Terrence’s low assist numbers didn’t help his draft case, but perhaps that’s attributable to the inability of his teammates to finish. Terrence was an All Pac-12 first team all-star, but attracted little more than ennui from the scouts & commentators, who had him going in the mid-teens. Bryan Colangelo was criticized for “reaching” with this pick, a charge I think is unwarranted. BC liked Ross, and Dwane Casey reportedly was in love (a critical factor around Raptor-land these days), so why try to trade down? Who’s to say Ross would still have been on the board at 15 or thereabouts? If he’s your guy, grab him. Have the courage of your convictions.
Anyway, what’s a Terrence Ross, and how can he help the Raptors? Ross is a lankier (and quicker?) version of DeMar DeRozan. From the film I’ve seen, TR is a long-range bomber who can also get to the rim on occasion, and is anything but a pushover defensively. If he truly can bring those qualities to both ends of the court, even in flashes, we may have found a player. He is expected to push DeRozan & Fields for playing time at both the SG & SF spots, and that’s all to the good. The Raps are a team in desperate need of internal position battles. No incumbent Rap should feel comfortable in “his” spot, given how many years it’s been since we’ve had a playoff appearance.
Terrence speaks well, offering a serious attitude about the game and his future in it. He appears to be happy being drafted by the Raps, and most of the vibes from his summer league appearance were positive. Some grumbling was heard about a lower-than-expected shooting percentage; let’s hope he’s worked through his jitters, and will show well at training camp. His jump-shot form is excellent, and a rookie who can score from distance would be a huge boost to the second unit. Coach Casey will pay particular attention to TR’s defense. Will he bite on every ball fake, or keep his feet on the ground and his man in front of him? I think Coach will make Terrence a deal – if you let the game come to you, and don’t allow a few missed shots on offense to distract you from your defensive responsibilities, you’ll get your minutes.
What can we reasonably expect from Ross the Rookie? He’s not a project, or a teenager, so he should be expected to contribute in short order. If we assume the continuum of Star-Starter-Rotation-BoB (back of bench)-Bust, where’s TR? I believe he’s going to make the team as a Rotation player, and has the skills to step up to Starter in time. I don’t see Star. Mercifully, I don’t see Bust or BoB either, largely because he has no glaring weaknesses, improved dramatically in his second college season, and seems to have his head on straight. A season-ending line of 8 PPG, 4 RPG, a couple of assists, a steal, a block….throw in solid effort, and we’ll be happy.
Welcome to the T-Dot, Terrence Ross. Here’s hoping you have a great career in Raptor red.