Should poor stretch from Gary Trent Jr. concern Raptors?

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 05: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 05: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have been on a tear in 2022 now that all of their starters are healthy, though there have been some issues when it comes to making sure all five are clicking at the same time. Standout shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. hasn’t been as lethal as he was when certain players were missing.

The Raptors knew going into this year that their roster was not going to shoot the lights out from 3-point range. Trent was given a three-year contract with the aim of providing stability in that area. So far, he’s done an exemplary job while evolving into a defensive weapon.

Trent, who is averaging 16.2 points per game on 42% shooting and 37% from 3-point range this season, is in the middle of what has been a breakout year due to his hot shooting and pesky defense. Even with such a consistent season to date, his performance since exiting the health and safety protocols has been underwhelming.

Trent is shooting 36% from the field and 30% from 3-point range in his last six games. He has not shot better than 33% from deep in any of those games. While he came alive in the fourth quarter in a win against the Utah Jazz on Friday, he entered the fourth with just two points and multiple poor turnovers.

Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. needs to get hot again.

Trent has put up performances of 6-24, 2-7, and 4-12 (twice) from the field in the last six games. With Fred VanVleet is playing the best basketball of his career lately, that hot streak has obscured what some might consider a very concerning stretch of games from Trent.

The Raptors are so bereft of depth that VanVleet and Trent were the only true guards that played non-garbage time minutes, as Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Malachi Flynn have been kicked out of the rotation. Nick Nurse needs better games out of Trent than what he has provided if he is to continue playing like this.

The one silver lining that Toronto can take from these games is the fact that Trent has been making shots in the fourth quarter. In addition to hitting some clutch jumpers against Utah, Trent helped keep them in a contest against the 76ers by nailing some impactful 3-pointers when the game was on the line.

One of the byproducts of a confident shooter is some poor shooting nights. Toronto needs to learn to live with this.

Ultimately, shooters like Trent will go into slumps, and they will only break out of said slump when they see a few shots go in and regain their mojo. However, Toronto needs to cross their fingers and hope that resurgence comes sooner rather than later. Will VanVleet keep bailing the offense out?

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