The Toronto Raptors took a significant risk when they signed Gary Trent Jr. to a three-year contract, as he was coming off a season spent partially with the Portland Trail Blazers in which his defense came under fire. Trent has completely reinvented his game under Nick Nurse.
Trent is fresh off averaging 18.3 points per game and becoming the most reliable shooter on the team not named Fred VanVleet. Ranking near the top of the league in steals per game and deflections per game, Trent’s defensive transformation was remarkable.
One more season with some nigh-elite production will put Trent in a firmly elite category among NBA shooting guards. Given his combination of youth, scoring punch, and two-way skills, Trent should be taken more seriously by the rest of the NBA after coming into the NBA as an anonymous second-rounder.
When looking across the league at all the shooting guards, Trent actually comes out as one of the best options in the association. Where does the Duke product stack up when all of the starting off-ball guards in the league are ranked against one another?
NBA shooting guard tier list: Where is Toronto Raptors SG Gary Trent Jr?
Tier 7: Replacement Level/Unproven
30. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
29. Josh Primo, San Antonio Spurs
28. Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
27. Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
Ivey, who was picked No. 5 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, has a bright future ahead of him. We still can’t rank him above anyone with pro experience just yet. Allen is as average as they come from a production standpoint, though he could be a nice role player for Milwaukee.
Primo spent most of last year gestating in San Antonio’s G League system. If Gregg Popovich worked his wizardry on Primo, he’ll shoot up this list in no time. Suggs got kicked in the rear end plenty during his first season in the league with Orlando, but there’s potential worth mining for a Magic team still leaning on his potential.
Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. tops Evan Fournier, Lonnie Walker.
Tier 6: Serviceable, if uninspiring
26. Lonnie Walker, Los Angeles Lakers
25. Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
24. Evan Fournier, New York Knicks
23. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets
Walker might not be the most high-ceiling guard that LeBron James ever played with, but he should be a serviceable option for the depth-needy Lakers this year. Huerter and Malik Monk arrived in Sacramento this year, but Huerter’s postseason experience with Atlanta might make him the Kings’ top choice.
While Knicks fans might cringe at Fournier’s contract, you could certainly do worse for a quaternary scorer than a veteran like the Frenchman. Caldwell-Pope has moved around a bit in the last few years, but his ability to snipe from deep and play passable defense knocks him up a couple of notches.