Grantland‘s estimable NBA columnist, Zach Lowe, has a long piece on the Toronto Raptors’ rebuild. Zach is always worth reading, as he has an excellent grasp of the nuances of the game, and writes with flair. [20-second timeout: the resurgence of the Raptors has made them newsworthy, after years of barely being noticed by the press. Jonathan Tjarks at RealGM writes about Dwane Casey's new offensive options since the Rudy Gay trade, and whether Masai Ujiri's rebuild is already over...also a interesting piece.]
While much of Lowe’s article discusses Masai Ujiri and the rebuild, Zach did offer some thoughts on the roster, one of which I found bizarre. I quote “[Terrence] Ross is intriguing, but he’s not going to be a star.” As Liz Lemon used to say “Wait…what?” Zach, I think you’ve got this one wrong. TRoss is further ahead than DeMar DeRozan was at the same point in their development, and DD seems to have turned out all right. Since TRoss become a starter, the Raptors’ record is 9-3. Prior to that, during Rudy’s give-me-the-ball-then-get-lost days, the team was 6-12.
Terrence shows every sign of being a willing and capable defender, and I’m confident coach Dwane Casey, a defensive wizard, will teach him as much as he can absorb. As often happens, an upswing on the “other” side of the ball has proven a tonic for a player’s offensive confidence. TRoss has become a legitimate threat from distance, which will eventually (patience, patience) lead to improvement in his finishing skills closer to the rim. His timing and positioning when shots go up needs work, but I see no signs of laziness from the young man, so I’m confident he’ll improve.
The discussion of Terrence occurred in the context of a rumoured deal with the Orlando Magic for shooting guard Aaron Afflalo. As it happens, I like Afflalo; he’s a lunchpail guy who’s worked hard to upgrade himself from late-first-round draftee afterthought to NBA starter. That said, I wouldn’t dream of trading the 22-year-old Ross for the 28-year-old Afflalo. We don’t know what Ross’ ceiling is yet. Let’s find out while he’s wearing Raptor colours.
As always, comments welcome. Would you trade Afflalo for Ross? Why?
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.
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