After a bounce-back December, it’s time to consider giving Terrence Ross his props. The Toronto Raptors have reeled off 6 wins in the 9 games since DeMarre Carroll went down with a bruised knee and they flat out couldn’t have done it without Ross’ production.
There was no small measure of outrage when the Toronto Raptors gave Ross a three-year $31.5 million extension just before the 2015-16 season started. Based on last year, there were strong feelings among the fanbase that Ross hadn’t earned his new contract and those disaffected fans had a point. Ross took a step back in his third season and finding out he played most of the year with bone spurs in his ankle didn’t do much to assuage the fears of the fans had just witnessed a very disappointing end to the season.
Ross didn’t do himself any favors with how he played in November either. A solid month of the wing that couldn’t shoot straight with lackluster defense on top and many fans were ready to ship Ross out of town on a rail. There was no disguising the 3.6 points, 26.5 percent shooting from the field and 26.7 percent shooting from three-point range with a player whose primary strength is supposed to be stretching the floor. All Ross was doing in November was stretching everyone’s patience past the breaking point.
However, now one should have to – if grudgingly – accept head coach Dwane Casey’s patience and explanation that shooters don’t forget how to shoot. At the end of November Ross told Pro Bball Report, “I’m getting (my rhythm) back, it’s coming” and he was right, even if that statement drew a significant amount of skepticism at the time.
Over the past 10 games, Ross is shooting 47.7 percent from the field, 44.6 percent from three-point range and averaging 11.3 points. He’s scored in double-digits in each of his past 5 games and to put it in context, Ross didn’t put together a string like that all of last season.
Five games do not a season make, but that is a big enough sample size to suggest that maybe – just maybe – Ross has found his shooting stroke again and can be the impact player off the bench that Casey needs once Carroll gets back on the court. If slagging a player when he stinks is fair, then he should get his props when he turns it around.