We’re going to handle preseason player profiles differently this year on RaptorBlog. For each player on the 2012-13 Raptors’ active roster, Joseph Casciaro and I are going to email our thoughts back and forth and then post the resulting conversation on the blog. It’s an edgy new form of journalism! Or something…
Terrence Ross, SG/SF, 6’6″, 195 lbs.
2011-12 NCAA Stats: 35 Games, 31.1 MPG, 16.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.9 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 45.7 FG%, 37.1 3P%, 77.4 FT%, 22.4 PER
Scott: Have Raptors fans gotten over the shock of the Ross pick yet? Based on the 74-page RealGM thread on whether or not the Raptors should have drafted Andre Drummond instead, apparently not. After the initial surprise wore off, it later came to light that Ross was considered the eighth-best player on the Raptors’ draft board — and the seven players ranked ahead of him had all been snatched up. So I suppose whether or not Ross was a “reach” with the eighth pick is just, like, your opinion, man.
My early impression of Ross is that he’s not particularly good at creating his own shot. His dribbling doesn’t seem all that advanced and he isn’t going to drive and get to the line very often. Of course, those are skills he can develop, and I’m already impressed with his athleticism, his shooting form and his defense. It’s too early to tell how he’s going to be able to apply these tools at the pro level, but the tools are clearly there.
Joseph: Yes, the Raptors should have definitely drafted the disappointing and inconsistent collegiate prospect who’s been known to take nights off, and the proof that they made a mistake is in two pre-season games where said prospect looked like the second coming of Dwight Howard. Alright, enough with my Drummond snark, I’ve already explained that I don’t think he and Valanciunas could have been developed properly together at the same time. On to Ross.
Your evaluation is pretty accurate. Ross isn’t a good enough ball handler or physically strong enough right now to be able to consistently create his own shot at the NBA level or be any sort of rookie scoring machine. But he’s also a good enough natural shooter and is impressively sound defensively to the point where he should still earn most of his minutes under Dwane Casey, not just be handed them because he’s a lottery pick.
As a 21-year-old rookie who still hasn’t even suited up in an official NBA game, Terrence obviously has a ways to go in his development, but he’s got the basic fundamentals already, so at least with him, it’s just going to be a process of getting him ready for the NBA game, as opposed to a lot of rookies who almost need to still be taught about the proper way to play basketball.
There aren’t a lot of good scoring wings who are effective on both ends of the floor anymore in the NBA, but the Raptors might have found one for the future.
Scott: It’s going to be interesting to see Ross’ role this season and how he fits into it. DeMar DeRozan was drafted ninth overall in 2009 as a raw prospect, he was the opening day starter in his rookie season and he never really had to fight to show that he deserved to be the starting two-guard on this team. Ross is actually a more polished, well-rounded basketball player than DeRozan was coming into the NBA, but he’s entering his rookie season as a backup who probably won’t be guaranteed more than 15 minutes per game to start off his career.
If Ross is going to find a way to carve out more playing time for himself as the season progresses, it will be on the defensive end. It’s becoming clear to me that Dwane Casey wants this team to establish a tough defensive identity and that’s not really the kind of image DeRozan has cultivated for himself three seasons into his NBA career. I’m also interested in seeing how Ross pairs up with Kyle Lowry since Calderon certainly doesn’t have a lot of recent experience in playing with a shooting guard who is actually a pretty good shooter so I’m not sure Jose knows what to do with that kind of player.
Joseph: I think that lack of guaranteed minutes is going to benefit Ross in the long run. As a rookie, DeRozan started at the two from opening night and never really had to worry about depth at the wings squeezing him out of minutes. Now obviously, this year’s team isn’t exactly busting at the seams with wing talent either, but it is a deeper squad overall and Ross is still going to have to earn his minutes a lot more under Casey than DeRozan had to under Triano. That competition should only help his development as an all around basketball player since like you said, those minutes will be earned by his play and effort on the defensive end.
What I’m really interested in finding out, as I’m sure a lot of Raptors fans are, is just how good DeRozan has to be this season to justify an extension. Because the way I see it, if DeMar doesn’t take a big leap forward this year, there’s no reason to keep him around and keep extra minutes away from a better pure basketball player who’s just as athletic and might just have the higher ceiling.
Scott: Just to be clear that this isn’t turning into an anti-DeRozan blog, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him so far this preseason and he absolutely deserves to be the starting shooting guard on this team until Ross unequivocally shows that he deserves it more. But I hope that there is a healthy sense of competition between the two players that spurs them both to higher levels. They’re definitely very different players, so it will be fun to compare and contrast their styles — especially since the team will need to make a very important decision about DeRozan’s future with this franchise as he comes to the end of his rookie contract.
Joseph: I couldn’t agree more. I’ve really liked DeRozan’s aggressiveness on the offensive end so far this pre-season and what appears to be a more attentive presence on the defensive end. I hope he emerges as a valuable player in this franchise’s future and a player worth extending.
Back to Ross, I definitely think he’ll be pushing DeMar everyday in practice and pestering him defensively. I’m excited to watch how these two youngsters (DeMar’s still a young player in his own right) compete and hopefully develop together, but of course, there is the possibility that one will push the other out.