Toronto Raptors: Is Terrence Ross Ready to Fulfill His Potential?


After an inconsistent start to his professional career, Terrence Ross appears poised to finally live up to the talents which persuaded the Toronto Raptors to select him in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.

You could make the argument that Terrence Ross is the most athletically gifted player on the Toronto Raptors roster. Unfortunately, the only thing matching this, has been his inability to live up to the talents which saw him drafted eighth overall in the 2012 NBA draft.

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There have been numerous examples of Ross’ inconsistency, but perhaps the best illustration came during the 2013-14 season, when he scored a career-high 51 points against the Los Angeles Clippers. It marked the first time an NBA player had scored 50+ in a game, while averaging less than 10 points per contest.

Regardless of the ups and downs, the Raptors still saw enough to sign the 24-year old to a contract extension at the start of this season. However, you better believe the three-year, $33 million extension will be the last gamble the organization takes on their enigmatic star.

For the most part, Dwane Casey has settled on Ross being of more use coming off the bench. During the last two seasons’, he started 62 and 61 games respectively.

The question is, has the Portland, Oregon native finally turned the corner? The answer appears to be a tentative yes, at least based on his recent performances.

The 18 points Ross had against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, marked the sixth-straight contest he had scored 10 or more. During that stretch, he has averaged 15.2 points on 49 per cent shooting from the field.

Mar 9, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey talks to Toronto Raptors small forward Terrence Ross (31) during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Raptors won 111-104. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

So, what has triggered this recent run of good form? Casey puts it down to more belief in himself.

Speaking to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Casey said: “The big word is confidence, he’s playing with a tremendous amount of confidence, he’s seeing the ball go through the basket.

“I think his defence has been solid, too. It’s not just his offence that’s been pretty solid, it’s his defence, both phases of the game.”

It helps that Ross is surrounded by teammates who continually remind him of how good he can be. As DeMar DeRozan told Smith: “We just tell him go out there and don’t think, just do what we know he can do.

“When he’s out there being Terrence with the headband on now and everything, he plays well. We have to keep that going and help him understand he’s a critical part of our success each and every night.”

Of course, six games is only a small sample size. The key now is for the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion to continue producing on the court over a longer stretch.

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In that respect, as Casey points out, it all comes down to the mental approach of Ross: “The really good ones always have confidence, they think the next one is going to go in.

“He has to maintain that, he’s got the green light to shoot the three. He’s one of our best three-point shooters, so there should be no reason for him to lose that confidence.”