Terrence Ross has fallen out of favor with coach Dwane Casey and the Toronto Raptors this season. But that hardly means he isn’t part of the team’s long-term plans or is even being actively shopped on the trade market.
Touching on whispers of a potential swap involving Ross before Thursday’s trade deadline, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri said he’d “be shocked” if his team dealt the hyper-athletic third-year wing.
Here’s a pointed Ujiri via sportsnet.ca:
“I would be shocked if we did something with Terrence,” Ujiri said Tuesday night. “Trust me. I can’t tell you more how I totally don’t think that would happen before Thursday.”
“He is really a two-way player; he has ability to stay in front of guys, he can hit a shot; he’s athletic as hell and he can hit threes. Every team is looking for players like that.
“We’re trying to get those kinds of players. We’re trying to develop Bruno [Caboclo] to be a defender, a three-point shooter and athletic and look how long it’s going to take to get him to be half of what Terrence is?”
It seems early for the Raptors to sell on Ross, especially considering his value league-wide is at an all-time low. 2014-2015 was supposed to be the season the 24 year-old established himself as one of basketball’s brightest young wings. Instead, he’s regressed on both ends and was recently demoted to the bench.
Ross’ problems are as much to do with offensive stagnation as a lack of defensive engagement. His rates of assists and free throw attempts have reached career lows of an embarrassing proportion, and Toronto has fared consistently better on the other end with Ross off the floor, too – his 107.4 defensive rating is his team’s worst number among regulars.
But as Ujiri so strongly indicates, players with the Washington product’s combination of athleticism and natural gifts are few and far between. It was just over a year ago that Ross poured in 51 points during a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, prompting some to wonder if the Raptors would be best-served trading former All-Star DeMar DeRozan to free responsibility for the presumptive rising star.
Those days seem farther off now than they actually are, though, and Ujiri would be wise to make a move centered on Ross if it brought back a player with some legitimate star power. However, the availability of such players are few and far between, and Ross still carries a sense of upside that could eventually make Toronto a bona fide Eastern Conference power.
Don’t expect Ross to be on the move prior to tomorrow afternoon, basically. Though the Raptors might not like the way he’s currently playing, they still seem plenty high on his future.