When the Toronto Raptors sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento, they opened up an opportunity for Terrence Ross. While the main conversation after the trade was why Gay hadn’t been successful in Toronto, Ross was quietly inserted into the starting lineup. He soon began piecing together performances to show why the front office believed enough in their second-year guy to hand him an opportunity.
In his first game back from an ankle sprain that sidelined him in Toronto’s Sunday afternoon victory against the Golden State Warriors, Ross returned to the starting lineup and faced Gay and the Kings, ready to help his team avenge a frustrating loss in Sacramento, and to remind people of why he was selected eighth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Showing few signs of rust after a week removed from the court, Ross scored a team-high 18 points on 6-for-12 field goals in Toronto’s 99-87 victory against the Kings. He played 26 minutes. He made six of his eight attempts from beyond the arc. Things looked easy.
While Ross’ teammates from last year are used to the talent the 23 year-old possesses, the ones who arrived in December are still getting used to his seemingly limitless potential.
“What he does in practice, the talent?” John Salmons said. “Man, we’re sitting on the bench, when he shoots, we think it’s good. He’s automatic. Every time he shoots, we think it’s good. You don’t think that about too many people.”
Patterson agreed with Salmons’ assessment. Asked about the Toronto teammates he gained after the trade, there was zero hesitation on who had surprised him most.
“Terrence, by far,” Patterson said. “I had no idea he could shoot like that. I always knew about his athleticism, I watched him in college. I knew about his scoring ability, his ability to attack the rim. He’s a solid defender as well. He’s got some good hands on him as well, but for him to be able to knock down that three at such a consistent rate, come off screen and rolls and hit that midrange jump shot, I had no idea he was such a great shooter.”
Patterson was tuned in to the dunk contest during All-Star weekend, but he felt the NBA missed a key opportunity to liven up another Saturday night event.
“I was surprised he wasn’t in the three-point contest,” Patterson said. “I was surprised. I was hoping he’d want to do that. Terrence is definitely the guy that has caught my eye since being here.
“At times it seems effortless to him. When he’s on the perimeter, just one or two dribbles and he just shoots it with great confidence, such great arc, perfect follow through and it goes in, nothing but net.”
In just his sophomore season, there is still plenty of room to grow for Ross. Most important is that he continues to work on his game and believe in himself. Both Patterson and Salmons said they don’t think he grasps how talented he is just yet. Thanks to the increased minutes and positive reinforcements from his teammates, he’s learning.
“The sky is the limit for Terrence,” Patterson said. “He’s getting better every single game. His confidence is getting higher and higher and he’s believing in himself more. I hope he realizes how good he is right now and how great he can be.”