Toronto Raptors: Top 3 things that Gary Trent Jr. brings to the squad

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 26: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 26: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Although the Toronto Raptors ended a 10-game losing streak against Denver on Wednesday night, there was still a dark cloud looming as everyone watching the game wondered if this was Kyle Lowry’s final run with the team. Instead, it was long-time Raptor Norman Powell, who got traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.

In just his third year, the 22-year-old Trent brings all the upside of a young, talented guard who has not even hit his prime yet. Trent will move into the offseason as a restricted free agent, giving the Raptors the first shot at matching any offers he receives while still having the salary flexibility as he comes off his rookie contract.

The former Duke Blue Devil put the league on notice last summer with his insane Bubble breakout, and carried that momentum into this season.

Trent, as evidenced in his debut despite the fact he was on Portland not even 48 hours ago, showed that he can be a two-way star for the Raptors. A 15.0 points per game scorer with size and a high basketball IQ, Trent should fit Toronto like a glove.

Here are the top 3 things that Gary Trent Jr. adds to the Toronto Raptors

Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – MARCH 14: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Gary Trent Jr. #2 of the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

No. 1: Perimeter defense

When you look at some of the well-known 3-and-D athletes in the NBA – guys like Danny Green, Khris Middleton, Jerami Grant, Robert Covington, they all have similar traits.

With his raw potential and talent, Trent could be on the cusp of making that list. Standing 6-5 with a 6-9 wingspan, he’s one of those guys with sneaky strength and a high IQ that has helped him take on some of the more challenging assignments on the other team.

He can hold his own against point guards and smaller wings and is also strong enough to hold down the fort for short stints against some forwards.

Gary Trent Jr’s defense has been excellent

We saw a glimpse of his potential when he guarded LeBron James in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. While it’s quite a tall order to clamp down The King, he managed to slow him down even if it was for a hot minute.

His steal rate isn’t very high, but he’s got active hands on the defensive end that can disrupt a players’ offensive rhythm.

He is not a lock-down defender by any means, but as he learns and adjusts his game, he could grow to become a vital piece on both ends of the floor. For a Raptors team in need of a vice grip on that side of the ball, acquiring Trent was well worth the hassle.