Second-year forward Terrence Ross has been steadily improving throughout the Toronto Raptors‘ run at a playoff berth and Atlantic Division title, but while there are some nights when the sophomore looks like an All-Star, there are still others when he seems to offensively disappear.
The eighth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Ross registered 6.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG and just 0.7 APG in 17 minutes of playing time per contest as a rookie. But since the departure of Rudy Gay in early December, Ross has seen his role on the Raptors increase significantly.
Prior to the trade that sparked Toronto’s turnaround, Ross had been putting up mediocre scoring totals that mirrored those from his rookie campaign and averaged only 6.4 PPG in 19.9 MPG during the month of November. At the end of December however, an added six minutes of playing time per game led to a spike in his offensive output to an average of 11.6 PPG for the month, which was then followed by another increase in floor time that resulted in a 13.6 PPG average in January.
Highlighted by his 51-point, nine-rebound outburst against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 25 in which he hit 10-of-17 three-point attempts, Ross seemed to have officially reached the next level as a proven scorer in this league, but as we know, scoring isn’t everything.
On a team that has struggled with rebounding all season, Ross only grabbed five or more boards in six of 17 games in January, once in 12 games in February, and only once in 17 games during the month of March.
When added to his almost non-existent assist totals of just 0.9 APG on the season, it’s easy to see where Ross needs to improve to contribute a much more well-rounded effort, especially considering the amount of playing time that he’s been receiving recently.
But in the same way that fans at the Air Canada Center have become accustomed to the scoring potential possessed by Ross, Raptor Nation is also well aware of the fact that his offensive development is far from complete.
During March for example, Ross scored 10 or more points in just 10 of Toronto’s 16 games despite averaging over 28 minutes a night of playing time, and had just two points in losses on the 21st and 31st. Most recently, Ross followed a pair of promising efforts in wins over the Houston Rockets (14 points, nine rebounds), and Indiana Pacers (24 points, five rebounds), with only eight points and three rebounds on Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
While the Raptors still managed to leave Milwaukee with the win, Toronto was without fellow starters Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson for the third straight game. Going forward, it’s situations such as this that Toronto will need Ross to be at his offensive best.