Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. and his historic start with the Raptors

TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 05: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 05: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Newly acquired guard Gary Trent Jr. has made quite the impression through his first handful of games with the Toronto Raptors.

Trent was the main piece coming back to Toronto in the Norman Powell trade, wherein he was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers on trade deadline day almost two weeks ago. This deal showed that Masai Ujiri was taking a gamble on Trent, a restricted free agent this summer, and his potential down the line.

When this trade went down, it was reasonable to start questioning it because Powell looked like the better player right now. However, with Powell more than likely declining his player option in the off-season, he would be getting a huge raise, and I doubt the Raptors would want to splurge on that.

Trent, who is six years younger than Powell, has some of the same attributes as Powell, but plays much better defence. Alongside OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam, Trent appears to have cemented himself in Toronto’s long-term plans.

Gary Trent Jr’s great start with the Toronto Raptors

Trent’s start as a Raptor has been pretty good, to say the least. However, wins still seem hard to come by, as the team has gone 2-5 through seven games after acquiring Trent and Hood on trade deadline day almost two weeks ago.

However, individually, he has been good as he’s had a couple of big games already and capped off a great comeback win against the Washington Wizards on Monday night with a game-winning buzzer-beater shot.

Through seven games with his new team, Trent Jr. has averaged 15.8 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, and 1.4 assists per game, while shooting the ball pretty good from the field as well.

His shooting splits with the Toronto Raptors so far have been 42.1% from the field, 38.7% from three, and a pretty average 75% from the free-throw line.

Records Gary Trent Jr. has broken

Although he has only played in seven games with the Raptors, those seven games have been the most eventful, to say the least as he has broken a couple of franchise records in back-to-back games on April 2 and April 5.

Against the Golden State Warriors, Trent Jr. broke the record for the highest plus-minus in franchise history with an amazing +54 on the night in a blowout win that saw the Raptors beat the Warriors by 53 points, 130-77. The mark was the second-highest total in NBA history.

Fast forward a couple of nights later on April 5 against the Wizards, Trent continued his excellent start and his record-breaking ability as he hit the game-winning shot in buzzer-beating fashion to top the Wizards 103-101.

What’s so record-breaking about a regular-season buzzer-beating shot? Well, Trent Jr. became the youngest player in Raptors history to hit a game-winning buzzer-beating shot, breaking the previous record held by Vince Crater over 20 years ago.

Raptors fans are getting a first-hand glimpse of what this kid can truly become in this league, as he’s getting the starts he deserves and is surrounded by players that are willing to let him shine, rather than the situation he was in with Portland where he was clearly third fiddle, at best.

He has similar attributes to Powell with the way they can score the ball and shoot the ball, but more importantly, he can defend way better. That will go a long way with a coach like Nick Nurse.

It has only been seven games into his Toronto Raptors tenure, but it is safe to say Trent Jr. has fit right in with his new team and the players themselves look like they enjoy him being around as well.

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