Terrence Ross as a trade chip?

May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) blocks a shot by Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (7) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Nets beat the Raptors 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

A seemingly harmless bit of musing by the The Star’s Doug Smith in his blog seems to have taken on a life of its own. Doug postulates that the Toronto Raptors might use Terrence Ross as trade bait over the off-season. Our friends at Bleacher Report have picked up on that, and named Terrence in a post discussing each NBA team’s most likely player on the block.

I’m here to tell you that trading TRoss would be a colossal mistake. Yes, his stats so far in his brief career don’t exactly project a superstar in the making. He’s had two significant positive blips, one being his winning the Slam Dunk award (while I pooh-poohed it at the time, such things are fun while they last), and the other his 51-point explosion against the Los Angeles Clippers. That game was the most exciting Raptor loss I’ve ever witnessed. Otherwise he’s been largely mediocre, because his mid-range jump shot is a work in progress, to put it kindly. His 3-pointer has a greater likelihood of going splash than shots inside the arc.

Late and lost concert violinist in Times Square: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Manhattanite (misunderstanding question): “Practise, practise, practise.”

That’s the only solution for TRoss and his shot. His form is excellent and always has been. He just needs to put up a zillion shots in the off-season, like his teammate and gym-rat extrordinaire DeMar DeRozan. Anybody remember DD’s first couple of seasons? I do – there were times when I thought he couldn’t put the ball in a hula hoop, let alone a basket.

TRoss is turning into a defensive beast. He’s slender enough to slip many picks attempts, and more than quick enough to stay with almost everyone he’s asked to defend. His shot-blocking numbers are nothing special (Detroit’s much-maligned Josh Smith leads all small forwards in this category, and it’s not close – who knew?), although his steal numbers are edging up the ranks. No one touches big-handed Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio in these categories when combined; he’s third in steals and fifth in blocks. I can tell you from observation that few small forwards are more disruptive via kicking balls or tipping passes than TRoss.

All the analysis in the world won’t change my mind on one simple fact. Terrence Ross has a crazy-high ceiling on both sides of the ball. While certain players stake their claim to greatness early, others need time to figure it out. In his first four seasons, a future 2-time MVP winner never averaged 10 points per game and was considered a bust. His name? Steve Nash.

I don’t know who the Raps could receive in trade for TRoss that I’d be OK with. He’s certainly far more than a “chip”. I hope he’ll be with us for many more seasons, and is my ridiculously early selection for the NBA’s Most Improved Player.

What do you think, Rapture Nation? Have I lost my objectivity? Let me know what you think about TRoss in the Comments.


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