Gary Trent Jr. shows off immense value to Raptors in win vs. Suns

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 09: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 09: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Gary Trent Jr. and the Toronto Raptors were fresh off getting embarrassed against the Phoenix Suns, drawing the vitriol of head coach Nick Nurse in the process. With a home game the next day against the Phoenix Suns, the Raptors had almost no time to lick their wounds.

Even without Devin Booker and Cameron Johnson in the lineup, any team led by Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton figures to be a challenging matchup. After Phoenix retook the lead in the second quarter following another mid-game malaise on offense, Trent stepped on the accelerator and caught fire from 3-point range.

Trent was reinserted back into the starting lineup as the Raptors look to find some way to get their offense sparked, and it looked like he did the job. Trent finished the game with 35 points on 11-22 shooting and 4-11 from 3-point range as the Raptors pulled off a 113-104 victory.

The Raptors may not be the most explosive (or effective, for that matter) offense in the league, but Toronto has the potential to hang with some quality teams if they can just get some semblance of consistency from 3-point range. Trent playing well in a featured role is integral to achieving that goal.

The Toronto Raptors must feature Gary Trent Jr. prominently.

Trent came into tonight’s game only making just under 36% of his 3-point attempts, but that number is misleading for two reasons. Not only is he the best non-Malachi Flynn 3-point shooter on the team as far as percentages go, but he is making 43% of his attempts on 6.5 tries per game since his 35-point game against the Pelicans.

Even on a team that lacks perimeter shot-creators and often gives Trent some of the most pathetic spacing in the league, he has managed to score with efficiency against some quality competition. Toronto needs more players like Trent, rather than cornering the market on 6-8 power forwards to live out their defensive versatility fetish.

Trent has been a popular trade discussion point in recent weeks, as he will likely opt out of the last year of his contract and earn a very nice payday. While it makes sense to get something of value for him, can you imagine this offense without him? The Raptors would turn into a less successful version of Larry Brown’s Pistons.

The Raptors may not have fixed all their problems just yet, but the fact that they can count on Gary Trent Jr. for a few made 3-pointers every night in whatever role they ask him to fill up is such a blessing for this roster. Trent is making his case for a long-term deal in Toronto too difficult for Masai Ujiri to ignore.

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