Raptors’ Terrence Ross Learning The Ropes
Terrence Ross went several spots higher in the draft than expected when the Toronto Raptors selected him eighth overall so the young man’s performances in the Las Vegas Summer League will be scrutinized a little more than usual. However, the Raptors had quietly scouted him since the lockout and this was head coach Dwane Casey’s guy. Casey believes Ross comes with an NBA-ready skill he can use right away.
Ross left Washington for the NBA as his team’s leading scorer, a big time three-point threat with the strength and athleticism to make things happen at the rim as well, but the 21-year-old recognizes the NBA is at another level and is using summer league as the first step in his adjustment process.
“I think the biggest thing for me is to stay calm and adjust to the game however it is played,” Ross said. “Not panicking and not worrying too much will help me to be a lot more comfortable and play my game.”
Ross started out strong in his first summer league game, finishing with 21 points on 8-19 shooting and hitting on three long range bombs, but his performance tailed off as the game moved along. Over his next two games, he only managed to go 9-26. The high draft picks in summer league are the standard other players looking for a NBA contract will measure themselves against and no one is going to make this easy for him.
“I feel that everybody has a target on their back and if it’s not that then I am an underdog,” said Ross. “Either way it gives me motivation to work and go out here and play my game.”
After a 0-3 start to summer league, one might be misled into thinking the Raptors’ entry wasn’t living up to expectations, but coaches and players have other goals in these exhibition games and they are not necessarily on the scoreboard.
“Play hard and compete and try to pick up as much as you can,” explained Ross.
Ross’ goals are clearly focused on the future. The summer league is merely the first step in getting his feet wet as he heads toward the regular season.
“The biggest thing for me is learning the defensive adjustments from college and being caught up so when I go to training camp I won’t be so far behind,” confirmed Ross.
The Raptors young veteran DeMar DeRozan has raved about Ross’ play at summer league and Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo expects Ross to push DeRozan in practice and for playing time during the season. The praise Ross is receiving is not lost on him, but he does have a solid grasp about where he is in this process.
“It’s good,” said Ross. “It makes for an easy transition to the team and makes it easy to gel.
“Right now, we are just setting the foundation for the rookies. Once we get closer to the season and closer to the training camp that’s when the (focus) is going to pick up and it’s going to be a lot harder.”
Ross shows a surprising level of understanding about the purpose of summer league and where he is in his personal development. The young man seems to grasp the reality that things are only going to get more challenging from here on out. While Ross has shown some level of NBA-ready skill in summer league and the Raptors are justifiably pleased with their draft pick, it is his acknowledgment of the difficulties ahead that lead one to believe Ross will adjust to the NBA more quickly than most rookies.