It’s a long shadow that extends all the way from Luthuania.
With Jonas Valanciunas ready to debut in the middle next season, the Raptors opted for an athletic shooting guard in six-foot-six Washington guard Terrence Ross with the eighth choice in the NBA draft.
The dominos look like this. Andrea Bargnani stays at the four spot where he will be occasionally supplemented by a still-learning Ed Davis.
Ross, a native of Portland, Ore., is probably a more naturally gifted jump shooter than incumbent swing man DeMar DeRozan. His impact will be gradual, Ross averaged 31 minutes and 16.4 points a night with the Huskies.
Ross said he is already looking for Valanciunas.
“It will be scary for me to go somewhere by myself but having another rookie will help me and help him at the same time,” he said. ” We are going to learn a lot from each other and I think we are going to have a good time.”
An NBA comparison for Ross may be with Jason Richardson with a splash of former Raptor Mo Peterson.
“Terrence is an excellent shooter an excellent athlete and a full-court runner,” said Casey. “He gets after it defensively for a young kid.
“What impressed me about him is his ability to run the floor. He was very active in our workouts so he will fit really well in our culture. “
Still, Thursday’s selection was a reflection of last year when Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo turned his back on the option of drafting a point guard to grab Valanciunas.
Valanciunas took giant steps toward becoming a dominant big man this winter. Just 20, he averaged 14.2 points and 7.4 rebounds in more than 23 minutes per game for Lietuvos Rytas.
“We do have one of the top big guys coming and if he was drafted this year he would be number two or three,” Casey said of Valanciunas. “We have a legitimate big guy in Jonas. He along with Terrence and other young kids are going to be big pieces for us.”
The Raptors needed more long distance offence from the wings. DeRozan attempted only 92 attempts, fifth highest on the team.
“I consider DeMar a scorer but because he is one of our primary scorers it (the selection of Ross) doesn’t affect him at all,” Casey said. ” This kid is a wing runner who get his shot in transition.”
“DeMar is a more established player at the tender age of 22,” Colangelo said. ” No one is going to come in from the eighth pick and make a big difference right away.
“Terrence brings something that complements a big need right now and that’s perimeter shooting. We’ve got the best of all worlds with this pick at eight. He’s one of the quickest best athletes in the draft as far as the wing play goes.
With their 37th pick, the Raptors selected Quincy Acy, a six-foot-seven forward from Baylor. Acy averaged 12 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in thirty minutes of play a night.
“Acy is a high-motor guy, very tough, very rugged,” Colangelo said. ” He’s a four but a skilled four. He’s really worked on his offensive game. I’ve been impressed with him for many years. He’s a guy who impacts the game with his energy and his toughness.”
The Raptors used their third pick to selected six-foot-eleven Croatian forward Tomislav Zubcic.