Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. is a star in the making after breakout 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

When the Toronto Raptors signed Gary Trent Jr to a three-year, $51.84 million contract in the offseason, some fans had their doubts. After the trade deadline where Norman Powell was shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers in return for Trent and Rodney Hood, the circumstances allowed him to showcase his skills.

Trent showed flashes of his offensive potential during this run. Trent scored a career-high of 44 points against the Cavaliers on 89.5% shooting. Indeed he was inconsistent on offense last year, but that is naturally what you would expect from a young player who was adjusting to a new role on a new team.

After getting traded to the Raptors, his usage rate skyrocketed to 23.0%, where he attempted 15.4 field goals per game. However, his shot creation and defense were not good during this stretch, leading some to question how high his ceiling is

Coming into this season, there was a lot of optimism about Gary Trent Jr. taking his game a step further. To say the least, Trent has not disappointed, quickly confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will be a valued member of the Toronto core for years to come.

The Toronto Raptors have seen Gary Trent Jr. improve on offense

Trent went from chucking up shots with defenders in his face to having opposing players gasping for air when guarding him. He had a rough start at the beginning of the season, but after a few games, he started to pick things up.

As of now, Trent has a career-high average in points per game, and his shooting efficiency went up from last year. Trent has a true shooting percentage of 55.2% this season. To put things into perspective, Stephen Curry, who is the best shooter of all time, has a true shooting percentage of 60.7%.

Trent Jr is ahead of his teammates OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes who have true shooting percentages of 53.4%, 54.2%, and 54.8%, respectively.

In November, Gary Trent Jr averaged 19 points on 46% shooting and 38% from 3. These are incredible numbers, and if he can steadily continue to improve his efficiency, then he is star-bound soon enough.

Gary Trent Jr’s defense has been much improved for the Toronto Raptors.

Trent’s growth on the defensive end has been jaw-dropping. He went from being a below-average defender last year to currently being one of the best two-way players in the league, which took almost everyone by surprise. Trent has great active hands, hustle, and agility which makes him one of the more surprising wing defenders.

Trent Jr is currently top three in steals per game in the NBA ahead of players such as Paul George, who was a former DPOY candidate. Trent is first in deflections per game. As for loose balls recovered, Trent Jr is fourth in loose ball recovered per game.

The hustle Trent shows on the defensive side of the court is truly special. Trent and Fred VanVleet both combine to make if not the best, one of the best two-way backcourts in the league.

What makes Gary Trent Jr a future star?

Gary Trent Jr’s elite two-way game is what will set him up for success. A player who can efficiently shoot the ball while being one of the more surprising defenders in the league should be on the path to stardom.

Heis not afraid to step up in the big moments, as he is shooting the ball at 50.0% during the clutch time in the last five minutes where the point differential of the game is five points or below.


No. 33 is efficient at shooting the ball, has become one of the best two-way players in the East, and shines during clutch moments. What more can you ask from a star?

Trent’s growth has been outstanding, and if he continues to produce on the offensive and defensive end then there is no reason why he shouldn’t eventually become an All-Star. As for now, let’s enjoy watching a star in the making.

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