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Can Raptors Terrence Ross Shake The Underachiever Label?

The eighth overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft, Terrence Ross was credited with one NBA ready skill by Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, he could shoot the three-ball. The 6’7 sophomore had averaged 16.4 points by hoisting 194 three-pointers for Washington that season and in just his second NBA season, he was averaging 10.9 points on 39.5 percent shooting from three. Expectations were Ross would live up to his lottery pick status, but instead he’s earned an underachiever label as his second NBA season remains his best NBA season two years later.

Ross knows what he needs to do in the summer to get better and it sounds like he might be on the right track as Basketball Insiders’ Oliver Morney quotes Ross as saying,

“I’ve been putting a lot of focus on getting stronger too; that’s the main goal for me this offseason. I want to make sure I can be more physical when my team needs me to be.

“I want to continue to get stronger and be able to absorb contact better when I’m driving. I’ve been shooting a lot of mid-range shots too. I’m just learning how to read defenses and make the best play possible when I’m out there. Strength helps a lot of things, but thinking about the game and putting myself in scenarios in practice is just as important. I want to become a complete player, so that means I have to work on every area of the game. I’m fully taking advantage of the offseason to improve my game and that’s what I’ve done since I came in the league.”

If this quote sounds like deja vu, there’s a reason. After his second season with the Raptors, Ross said he had put on 15 lbs and just prior to the start of training camp told Pro Bball Report,

“I don’t feel like a rookie. I feel like one of the young guys. I’ve been in too many situations. I’ve had enough playing time that I can’t use that excuse anymore. Right now I feel like I am a different player and I can do a lot more than I did last year.”

“I feel like even where I am at right now there is a lot more to go. I am never going to be complacent or content where I am at. I just took it upon myself to go further than I did last year and that is always going to be my new thing – do a little more than you did last year.”

Blame season three on the bone spurs in Ross’ ankle, it was a small step back from the year before, but last year Ross still didn’t get back to his sophomore stats and his four year career averages are starting to look like that’s who he is. 9-10 points, 2-3 rebounds, 38 percent shooting from three and a former Slam Dunk champion that takes less than 10 percent of his shoots within three feet of the basket.

That wasn’t the picture Ross painted for Pro Bball Report as he headed into his fourth NBA season.

“(Go) inside and be a little more versatile and switch everything up, a couple more moves to get separation for shots. A lot of running on the down screen. I just run all over the court and get into condition to do it during the season.”

Ross told Morney, “I’m pretty motivated” and this summer, he should be. Raptors rookie Norman Powell outplayed Ross last season and is poised to take his spot in Casey’s rotation. Powell is stronger, plays a more physical style of game and he shot 40.4 percent from three.

Ross has the potential to become a complete player, as he stated, since he has impressive athleticism and the ability to shoot threes. He seems to possess all the necessary tools to be a talented scorer. – Morney

Ross does have all the tools to become a complete player and a talented scorer. He’s had them since he stepped into the League and occasionally he shows them off in a big way. He thought there was a lot more to go after his second season and so did everyone else, that’s why he’s earned the underachiever label he desperately needs to shake. There is a young talented hungry player working hard to get Ross nailed to the bench next season if he doesn’t.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Featured image courtesy of Paul Saini
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