It would be difficult to call the Toronto Raptors’ performance at this year’s Las Vegas Summer League anything other than a positive development. Jonas Valanciunas was making believers out of those on hand and Dwight Buycks was the breakout point guard of the event. The Fresh Quince, meanwhile, showed the potential to be more than just an end-of-the-bench grinder, showing off an improved jumper in mechanical terms and scoring 14 points per game on 50% shooting.

There was one Raptor roster player, however, who was unimpressive. And if you hadn’t figured it out by process of elimination, it was Terrence Ross.

In the 2012 tournament, Ross was fresh off being selected eighth overall by the Raptors. The anticipation was pretty high given his lofty draft position, the team’s need for another wing player and the fact that he played at Washington, meaning many fans on the East hadn’t gotten an extended look at him. He averaged 14.4 points a game but on just 37% shooting, going just 6-for-24 from long range.

It was somewhat unexciting but not really disappointing given his rookie stature.

Fast forward to this year’s tournament, with Ross coming off a rookie season where he showed some potential but was mostly unimpressive. He averaged just 6.4 points in 17 minutes a game, shooting 41% overall and just 33% on triples. Sure, three-point shots develop later for a lot of players, but this potential three-and-D wing didn’t show that either part of that classification was NBA-ready yet.

He’s probably entering camp as the back-up shooting guard, and small forward has too many options to envision him playing there much. So with some offseason time to work on his shot and, hopefully, his handle, Ross likely came to Vegas looking to impress and let the team know he deserved more than DeMar DeRozan’s scraps.

Instead, with the exception of the first half of the July 18 game against Denver, he was painfully unaggressive. Against players he should be better than (and in most cases, more athletic than), Ross seemed content to float around on offense and wait for a mid range jumper to present itself. He averaged 12.6 points on 42% shooting, again struggling with the three-point shot (3-for-13). Perhaps most disappointing, he went 8-for-9 from the line in his first six minutes of said Denver game but took just nine free throw attempts in the rest of his 117 minutes combined.

He also turned the ball over 3.4 times a game and tended to play more of a free safety role on defense than locking anyone down. This makes the highlight reel and piles up the steals, perfect for getting noticed but not necessarily appropriate in the confines of a defensive scheme.

Last season, Ross was pretty mediocre in isolation (0.68 points per possession) and as a spot-up shooter (0.91), really only making hay in transition (1.35). With the expectation that said spot-up attempts would look better, the jumper lacked confidence. Some of that is the fact that he was keyed in on, fine, but then why the lack of aggression putting the ball on the floor. Ross just didn’t look like a guy who was out there to prove a point or send a message. He looked content to play second fiddle to a couple of teammates and a cast of also-rans, failing to recognize that he could have taken over at any time.

I warned before Summer League started that failure in Vegas was more worrisome than success was encouraging. Counterexamples have been brought to my attention and I even changed my tune on getting excited (Jonas!). But this looked bad. It really looked like a guy who is unsure of his own skill set and not ready to assert himself on an NBA floor. He also showed a lack of recognition, of his own game and the tournament environment. Once again:

5:46 v Denver: 1/1 FG, 8/9FT, 3 Rb, 2 TO
Other 117 minutes: 21/51 FG, 8/9 FT, 21 Rb, 14 TO

It’s disappointing. I like Ross and think he could eventually be that kind of three-and-D asset he was touted as. But in his current incarnation, it’s difficult to make a case for him getting minutes beyond whatever DeRozan can’t handle – DeRozan, by the way, has played the sixth most minutes in the NBA over the past three years. Hope you enjoy shooting drills, T-Flight.

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39 Responses to “On Terrence Ross’ Poor Summer League Performance”

  1. wedontturstross

    remeber when everyone was like trade DeRozan and put ross as a starter… was i the only one thinking he was not even a good player wright guy might even get his spot

  2. Rebuilding

    Can someone please respond to this narrative “there is not need to worry about ross as he needs structured offense to excel like in the NBA” and not a pick up game like the summer league”

    Do you buy it or is it just clouding the issue?

    • ddfrnk

      There is not need to worry about ross as he needs structured offense to excel like in the NBA and not a pick up game like the summer league

  3. David Bassily

    Okay, a lot of people I’ve spoken to are now saying we drafted Ross way to early but go back and look at the draft that year and tell me a better guard that was available to be picked when we were making our selection. There were a lot of good bigs remaining but that isn’t what we needed at the time, Ross will learn to play and play well soon enough

    • Tim W.

      When you’re coming off a .348 winning percentage, the biggest area of need is talent, not a position. Teams that pass over more talented players because it wasn’t a position of need almost always end up regretting it. You just have to look at Raptors’ draft history to see that. Rob Babock passed over a more highly rated Andre Iguodala because the Raptors already had wing players and needed a center. That didn’t turn out all that well.

      • djzone

        Drummond was the no-brainer pick, top 5 talent, not the best player on the board, but the most upside. Raptors will regret that pick a lot more than Iguodala, big men are that hard to find. Could have flipped Drummond for a proven all-star right now.

        • bballi bballi paradise

          please provide a link showing you said this pre draft. Also tell us a situation where a team successfully developed two rookie centres simultaneously.

          • djzone

            If you didn’t know Drummond was the best player on the board, then you weren’t paying attention or missed the draft completely. He was expected to go 5 or 6 and was a gift at number 9 to Detroit. “Likely the player with the highest ceiling of anyone seen this weekend,Andre Drummond(#1 Scout, #1 Rivals, #1 ESPN) – Draftexpress. Personally I was hoping they would take Rivers, Barnes or Henson but I never expected Drummond at #8 to be there

            Second, young big men do not need a lot of minutes early on in their careers to develop, it took until his 4th year for Bynum to get 30mpg and last year Drummond only played 20mpg, an easy split with JV. Also, if giving a rookie minutes to develop is your concern, how many minutes will Ross get this year behind DD and Gay? How many did he get last year? If I’m going to have a rookie strapped to the bench, I’d at least want the one with upside

            Thirdly a lottery team devoid of talent can not draft for need. Best player available period. If you have a logjam, it’s a good problem to have as teams will bend over to hand you an all-star for a potential big man. Look at it this way, GMs would kill to have Drummond, and he only played 20mpg, and wouldn’t we get the type of talent back in return as we would if we tried to trade Ross or Demar.

            • bballi bballi paradise

              I understand what you are saying, somewhat.

              But you didn’t answer either of my questions.

              you didn’t show an example of YOU saying Drummond was the no brainer prior to or just after the draft. In hindsight sure, we can all say that. But if you did say that on here, and can show it, then props to you for calling it correctly. I kinda picked a fight here, nothing personal I just got tired of reading hindsight opinions. So like I said, if you did pick Drummond last summer, then nice pick.

              I said a team would have difficulty developing two rookie centres at the same time. You talked about playing time and put words in my mouth. The playing time split would be easy from a math standpoint, but for actually competing in the games would be a disaster on most nights. Development has confidence issues, time devoted to practice and mentoring with the coaching staff and a whole lot of other issues. IMO drafting Drummond would have hurt his and JVs development. If you disagree then we will have to agree to disagree…

              Drummond was no sure thing. He has surprised everyone imo. He was also passed up by the teams in front of us remember. Hindsight is 20/20. GMs would kill to have Drummond, sure, now, not last summer!

              • djzone

                Ok, I’ll answer them.

                I didn’t say I would have drafted Drummond. I favored Barnes or Rivers going into the draft, and when Barnes was off the board I felt they should have taken Rivers/Drummond/Henson. Trust me when I tell you that if Rivers turned out to be a bust for the Raps and Drummond the second coming of Dwight Howard I would keep my mouth shut about a draft miss. I”m not a fan of hindsight drafting, and you’re right when you say Drummond was no sure thing and every single GM who passed on Drummond prior to Toronto absolutely made the right decision for their team.

                My thinking is the Raps were in a different situation than the 7 other teams prior to them in the Draft. They needed a star and JV was no sure thing either (remember he had not played a single minute in the NBA), and if they were gonna pass up on the best available talent, he better have enough upside to compensate. You won’t hear me complain about all the misses we had in prior drafts as I felt they were good picks at the time (with the exception of Araujo). And this on the other hand is another Araujo situation where we reached for a player to draft for need (possibly as a sidekick to Nash).

                On the development aspect, we both have different philosophies, but the reality is that both are theories. No one knows if working with coaches and off court makes a player any better than playing time alone, and if you want any proof of that look at the careers of Bargnani vs Darko. One got the playing time, the other the development and neither developed to their full potential. The NBA is full of these type of situations as it’s easy to get stuck in a logjam (only 7-8 meaningful roster spots). But I’m sure where we can both agree is if a player has enough talent, it doesn’t matter how much coaching time or playing time he gets, he will show flashes of that potential. I feel both JV and Drummond are on that level, and it’s easy to see why GM’s would drool over talent that is AVAILABLE. Detroit is not trading Drummond, and we aren’t trading JV, that’s the main difference. If we had both, it’s easy to see how we could flip one of them for a legit all-star or a multitude of draft picks. Last year no one was going to trade a bevy of picks and players to move up to #5 for a guy who wasn’t a sure thing, this year, not the same. Drummond IS a sure thing, and teams would give and an arm and a leg for him but only if he was on the block, which he isn’t.

                My counterpoint to your development theory is that if the organization thinking was to draft Terrence Ross simply because drafting Drummond would hinder JV’s development, can you be 100% certain that Terrence Ross would be a better player than JV/Drummond simply because he got more one-on-one coaching than JV/Drummond? Like I said, my thinking is “who knows” but both JV/Drummond have a high enough ceiling to warrant a king’s ransom a year from the draft (now) due to their sheer physical talent and position something we can’t say about Terrence Ross (not due to his game alone, the center position is the rarest and a prized possession nowadays).

                • bballi bballi paradise

                  Good points.

                  Basically at the end of the day, that 8th spot was a tough situation. All the “sure” picks were off the board( sure at the time, Robinson doesn’t look so good now although I guess he still has a chance to prove himself). and from 8 to what, 20, they all seemed to be of the same caliber. I think any guy chosen in the that eighth spot would have been labelled a reach or a gamble. I’m sure the brass tried to trade down, just the other teams didn’t see value in trading up since all the available guys were of similar value….

                  Coin toss Ross, perfect name for him, thanks to the guy who coined that phrase

              • taxmitt

                Drummond was the obvious pick of the draft for the Raps. There was no question then and certainly not now. No one even heard of Terence Ross.

    • Bendit

      For a team like the Raptors (in its development stage at the time) it should be best player available rather than need especially that high in the draft unless of course you have a pretty sure choice. Maybe BC thought that he was. He probably also thought the team was near playoff capable.

  4. Nilanka15

    I’m not too worried. Disappointed, yes. But nowhere near ready to label Ross “a bust”.

    The season’s only been over for 2.5 months. There’s another 3.5 months to go before the opener. I’m sure the coaching staff has noticed Ross’ tendency to float, and will do everything in their power to correct the issue.

    Let’s revisit this next summer.

    • ghotte

      Problem is, Ross appears to have a pretty low bball IQ. The turnovers were just plain careless (brain cramps) and he didn’t create for anyone. (Yes I realize it’s Summer League.) He just has a long way to go in recognizing his strengths and when to use them in a game setting.

      Not even remotely close to starter material.

      • Nilanka15

        Agree he’s not ready to be a starter. Seems like he’s suffering from lack of confidence right now (for whatever reason).

  5. SR

    It is summer league, but I agree you want to see the types of things that we’re seeing from Acy and JV – not only a willingness, but an ABILITY to develop as players and add new elements to their game. “Potential” and “raw athleticism” are only valuable if the player has shown an ABILITY (again, not just a willingness) to develop as a basketball player.

    Some players don’t develop because of attitude/motivation, others are great guys who just don’t show much aptitude for growth in spite of honest effort (DD?). Hopefully Ross is not one of those guys. We’d all like to see him grow this year.

  6. Rick

    Theres nothing wrong with Ross. He needs to work on his game and confidence. He’s not a starter in the nba. I’m glad alot of people see that dd is the man not Ross. Ross has to work hard but could be a good player. Takes time. He also needs to bulk up! Work on his jumper and drive and finish with contact since he’s so athletic. But he’s not taking dd spot. Lets make that crystal clear!

    • vino

      The only thing that is crystal clear to me is that this team requires multiple changes. I highly doubt Ross will be backing up DD for a lot longer, either in Toronto or somewhere else. At the same time I hope Ross spends the next three months in a gym shooting the ball day and night!

  7. FAQ

    TRoss is our secret WMD player who will decimate the opposition with his slammin’ bammin’n jammin’ … once the reg season starts… heed my words fellow t.h.f. … he’s an IED buried on the bench and will skyrocket like a .. skyrocket on the 4th of July.. or Victoria Day.. whichever you observe. Doubters need not apply. The summer league was just a mild workout to get the kinks outa his dink… and he will be fit’n ready to wreak devastation on da Enemy… booyah ..!!!

  8. Jay

    Ross has all the tools to be a great pro, but his basketball I.Q is below average.

    • Jay

      I will agree with you, but some blame has to go on to the Raptors coaching staff and front office. I guess that’s why 99% of the coaching staff and front office got fired. Cause it didn’t make sense to me why Alan Anderson was getting more minutes than Terrance Ross.

  9. W.T

    He’s clearly not as hungry for minutes like the rest of the roster guys are.

    • GoingBig

      No, we don’t have as much invested in him and we are not likely, under Ujiri, to tear up the Raptors to make just one player finally achieve something.
      Ross will have chances to show the effort needed – if he makes the effort, he can make a contribution and be of some value – and not the anchor dropped through the bottom of the Raptors boat like Bargnani.

      • raptorspoo

        Agree with you that we won’t be as heavily invested in him as Bargs.

        But can’t help to think that he’ll be a disappointment year after year. Where we see his potential and have so much hope for him but he won’t get the mental aspect in terms of defense, aggressiveness, developing sufficient bball IQ, confidence, etc.

        When I look at him play, I see something that you don’t see in players like Barnes, Lillard, Drummond, Waiters, or any lottery picks – which is a look of being totally lost, dumbfounded, insecure, etc.

  10. ebrian

    I’m not worried at all. Terrence Ross knows he has a spot on the roster. He just stepped back a bit to give some other guys a chance to shine. He was just being a nice guy.

  11. BigV

    Its not a big deal that he played bad this summerleague, wtf u expect from him. If you actually watched the raptors last season you would no that ross excells when playing within a structured offense not pick up games and with a bunch of scrubs. Ross will bounce back from this, from what I learned from watching him last year is that when hes given consistent minutes and his confidence is high he is the player that everyone was saying could start and demar shipped.

    • 3rdgeer

      The thing about it is as a player in his second year he should have know what he needed to do. JV knew and QA knew. Even if u playing w “scrubs” it was his job to eat their food and show team/fans the level he is on. He can be a mo Pete or a Jr smith. That is how I see him. He needs to decide. #goRoss. I like the guy.

  12. Ross not Boss

    he regressed from last year. ever since that freaking slam dunk contest this kid has been on a downward spiral

  13. Andrey

    LOL when a guy dominates SL, people go don’t look at the stats it’s just SL. When a guy doesn’t dominate “oh fuck he’s a bust” It seems like SL is a lot more serious then people say. Nothing to gain and everything to lose situation.



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  2.  On Terrence Ross’ Poor Summer League Performance | Blake Murphy Sports Writing

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