Terrence Ross wasn’t the player the Raptors had originally hoped they’d draft with the 8th selection in this past summers NBA draft. They would have much preferred Harrison Barnes, Dion Waiters or Damien Lillard to Ross. It would have been easier to slide them into the small forward spot and keep DeRozan at his more comfortable two guard spot.
Ross didn’t really seem like a perfect for Toronto. He’s a 2, which means, on paper anyway, he is blocked by Demar DeRozan and destined for a role on the bench. The Raptors were orignially hoping for more of an impact selection with a pick as high as 8. Ross was a bit of an unknown and was not highly coveted by teams around the Raptors draft slot. Not exactly the type of player you seek out with an 8th pick.
But sometimes things have a funny way of working out.
Terrence Ross was projected much lower on most people’s draft board, but he possesses skills on both ends of the floor that fit quite well with what Dwane Casey is trying to build in Toronto. That skill set may eventually have the GM’s that passed him up regretting their decision and the Raptors’ brass looking like geniuses.
Dwane Casey is a big fan of Ross heading into training camp which could impact his eventual role and playing time. “What impressed us is his ability to run the floor and get his shot off. Of all the guys available on the board, he was the guy who could get his shot off. We need shooting. We need shooting and wing runners who can run the floor.”
He’s a hard-nosed defender and is great in isolation situations. He has good lateral speed which makes him hard to beat off the dribble and his size gives him an advantage over most two guards. It also gives him an added dimension to his game: rebounding.
Ross is a very skilled shooter, especially at the three. This is a skill the Raptors have not seen from their perimeter players much over the last few seasons (Unless you really reach and consider Jason Kapono). Ross was close to a 40% 3pt shooter for Washington. In summer League for the Raptors, save for one bad shooting night, he looked solid in almost every game he played. He was often the best player on the floor and looked very much worth the 8th pick. He posseses a confidence in his shot and did not seem afraid of taking an open jumper; something he should have plenty of with the Raps this year.
Ross may now play a larger role in the rebuilding of the Raptors team and it’s chances at making the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Judging from his skill set Ross’s contribution this coming season may be more than anyone ever guessed on draft night. At Washington he averaged 16.4 points and shot 45 percent from the field. With 6.4 rebounds which seems to indicate he plays a multi faceted game.
The Raptors have not a had a player on the perimeter with this diverse a skill set for a long time. Toronto needs a shooter on the floor and Ross is likely to be given an opportunity to log heavy minutes if he can keep shooting a high percentage.
DeRozan has not yet shown fans that shooting touch and other than Jose Calderon and maybe Linas Kleiza there isn’t a high percentage shooter (if you can call them that) available for Dwane Casey on the Raptors bench. This means we will likely see quite a bit of Ross in late game situations.
Not to mention, with Kyle Lowry now running the Raptors offense, Ross may fit in the flow of the offense even more as a spot up shooter for Lowry to kick out to.
Despite not being their first choice, Terrence Ross may end up being a blessing in disguise. He could also end up being a key building block in the Raptors future hopes at reaching the coveted playoff goal.
With a deep bench that includes Ross, the Raptors may just be on their way to competing for that spot this year.
Ross and the Raptors may have been brought together by fate and a lost coin toss. With the season nearly upon us the possibilities that could exist for the Raptors and Ross are beginning to look enticing.
The Zan Tabak Herald