Should the Toronto Raptors re-sign Terrence Ross?


Recently, the Toronto Raptors signed budding young center Jonas Valanciunas to a four-year, $64 million contract extension, assuring that the Lithuanian big will be a key part of the Raptors system for years to come. Now, GM Masai Ujiri must decide if he is willing to make the same commitment to Terrence Ross, who has had a tougher first three years in the NBA.

Ross came into the league riding a wave of hype fit for an eighth overall pick. Despite his impressive athleticism and natural skill, Ross has struggled to establish any sort of consistency as an NBA wing. Ultimately, his ceiling has descended each year, going from a projected star for the Raptors to a future 3-and-D contributor. Still, Ross is only 24-years-old, so he has time to learn and grow into a solid NBA player.

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Last season, Ross averaged 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game on 41% shooting from the field and 37% from long-range. Part-way through the disappointing campaign, Ross lost his spot in the staring lineup, which had been reserved because he was expected to grow into it. To be clear, his problem has never been physical. Unfortunately, Ross has yet to show he has a mind fit for professional basketball.

On offence, Ross often looks scared, rushing careless shots without taking the time to pass or to dribble into open room. Though he is a great dunker, he rarely takes advantage of his speed by cutting to the hoop. Instead, he panics and jacks up endless 3-pointers. Here is an example of what he can do when he drives:

On defence, Ross just looks lost. Often, he will play great 1-on-1 defence, but then blow switches and fail to be where he needs to be while his opponents are in transition. Much like his offensive struggles, he can be taught, but efforts have thus far proven unsuccessful.

If Ujiri decides not to re-sign Ross by October 31st, he will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. This means any team could bid for his services, but the Raptors would have the chance to match any contract. The other thing that would likely happen is Ross would become frustrated with the Raptors organization, since he no doubt expects to be re-signed.

Ultimately, Ujiri should realize that his roster is strong enough for Ross to have to earn his spot. For this reason, he should not be re-signed during the season. This way, Ross will have a clear one-year tryout to earn a continued stay in Toronto. If he plays like he has been, the team would be better off without him.

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