Ross will likely be a solid pick for the Raptors. However is "solid" the best they could do?
The HQ gives their take on last night's draft noting that while it could have been worse, it's hard to get too excited about the outcome.
"With the eighth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select...Terrence Ross from the University of Washington."
David Stern might as well have said Hoffa's name there because the reaction by Raptorsnation was a similar one of disbelief.
Yes, Mr. Ross ended up being the choice for TO much to the relief of those dreading the selection of Austin Rivers, and much to the chagrin of those hoping to see Bryan Colangelo parlay Andre Drummond into something more intriguing.
And that's really my first thought on the selection of Ross, the 6-7 guard/forward out of Washington.
Ross is probably the most bland option Toronto could have taken at 8 in a year where I think most fans were hoping to see the team make a big splash one way or another. If if you hated the idea of Toronto taking Rivers, it was at least something you could rail against, another brick in the "Colangelo has no idea what he's doing" wall.
Ross is a bit of a black box for most fans, the proverbial dark-horse amongst names like Rivers, Drummond, John Henson and Jeremy Lamb. Even the name, Terrence Ross, does little at face value to excite. Perry Jones the third, Moe Harkless? Those have a ring to them.
But let's look beyond the face value piece here and try and ascertain what the Dinos ended up with, not just out of the Terrence Ross pick, but Mr. Acy and Mr. Zubcic.
For starters, Ross has NBA size. At 6-7 and nearly 200 pounds, he'll be able to come in and compete right away. He's no LeBron, but considering guys like Kobe Bryant (6-6, 205), and Andre Iguodala (6-6, 207) are all around that size range, that's a good starting point.
He's not the longest player for his size. His 6-8 wingspan is pretty pedestrian for his height, but he's got some of the best hops in this draft class. He measured out with nearly a 38 inch max vertical and with about three-percent body fat, we're not going to have to worry about him turning into Oliver Miller any time soon. Athletically he's solid, but no freak. In Draftexpress' composite ranking he fell right in the middle of the pack, 26th out of the 52 players evaluated. His lane agility score is my biggest concern considering he's supposed to be one of the better defenders in this class. His mark of 11.78 is hardly in the same league as the 11.17 posted by current top notch NBA wing defenders like Andre Iguodala and Gerald Henderson. And completing only two reps on the bench press portion of the athletic testing definitely speaks to the need for Ross to add strength.
But can he play?
Ross averaged 16 points and six rebounds for Washington last year and is one of the better scorers in this draft class. He shot 46 per cent from the field, hit on 37 per cent of his three-point attempts, and shot just under 80 per cent from the free-throw line for good measure. His true shooting percentage of 56 per cent is again solid, and the takeaway here is that the Raptors are drafting one of the better all-around shot-makers in the field.
-Terrence Ross' 0.995 overall PPP ranks eighth of the 18 wing prospects, and he's doing so on the seventh-highest number of possessions per game at 16.3. Ross stands out most with his second-best 1.389 PPS on shots around the basket, though he also posted a respectable seventh-best 1.184 PPS on jumpers, speaking to his versatility. Given his ability to score efficiently as a jump shooter and likewise do so getting to the basket off the ball, Ross has a nice groundwork of skills for a role playing wing at the next level, and could use them to help find a niche early.
I think "role player" is the term we should all get used to hearing because to me, that's how Ross projects out.
Yes, he might have the upside of a Jason Richardson (Draftexpress' top comp) or Eddie Jones (comp from NBADraft.net), but I'm likening him a lot more to another Morris Peterson; a solid wing who can provide defence, long-range shooting and some surprising offense at times.
Ross' comp via Basketball Prospectus is another former Raptor, Antoine Wright, so you start to get an idea of the type of player Ross should be. Wright was saddled with off-court issues and never really hit his stride, but I'm pretty confident Ross will at least hit that Mo Pete range. In fact from one scout regarding Ross' potential as a pro:
"Maybe the biggest sleeper in the draft. He's athletic, he shoots it, he's competitive. His basketball I.Q. is a question, but that wouldn't concern me. One of the best shooters I've seen. He can really stroke it. He's far away physically, but he can put on strength. I like that he gets in his stance and tries to guard."
The biggest worry I have with Ross is on the advanced stats side of things. His PER of 22.4 as a Husky was solid if not spectacular, but he was the 30th best player in this class based on Wages of Wins analysis, and John Hollinger's Draft Rater didn't do him any favours either as he was ranked 27th with a mark of 9.12 (eerily similar to DeMar DeRozan's draft rater mark of 9.26.)
These numbers don't guarantee Ross being a bust of course, but I think they're important to keep in mind as we watch his development.
In summary then I don't love this pick, and don't hate it.
Was he a reach at 8? Maybe. But I get the feeling that three years from now, when we revisit the draft, we all agree that Ross was chosen right around the spot he should have been chosen. As well, it's pretty evident that the Raptors' top options, Lillard, Waiters and Barnes, were all of the board and Ross was next on the list, so it's not as if they went completely against the grain with the pick here. They simply weren't enamored with anyone else in the next tier, and frankly, neither was I. (You knew the team wasn't taking someone like Sullinger or PJIII.)
Ross fits a need as a 2/3 who can shoot and defend (better three-point shooter than Rivers or Lamb), and is one of the more NBA-ready options in this draft.
That being said, was there an opportunity to draft Andre Drummond and move him for something better? Or even keep him considering his upside?
That will likely be the question that haunts Raptors' fans for years, especially if Drummond turns into even the next DeAndre Jordan.
Turning to the second round, this is frankly where I was more disappointed. I like Quincy Acy as a second-round pick, but taking him over players like Quincy Miller, Will Barton and Tyshawn Taylor? I get playing it safe with the first-round pick, but with two second-rounders, I think this is where you swing for the fences! Miller could have been a lottery pick if he had returned to Baylor and Barton measured out as one of the best advanced stats guys in this draft class!
I mean, haven't we seen this movie before with BC regarding second-round selections? In fact, numerous times? PJ Tucker and Nathan Jawai were both drafted based on need rather than upside and well...
Again I like Acy. He's an energy guy who's even drawn some Kenneth Faried comps in terms of his style of play, but frankly for someone with his athletic ability, he was underwhelming defensively at Baylor, and didn't dominate on the boards either. (Can we all ease up on the Reggie Evans comps?) He's a niche player and might be a good one eventually, but again, I preferred a number of other prospects at that stage of the draft.
As for Zubcic, you could see that one coming a mile away and who knows, maybe he's a pleasant surprise in a few years time. We'll post more on him later after talking to some international "in-the-knows" as frankly, I know nothing of this prospect.
All in all, a solid draft but not exactly the home run fans were hoping for I gather.
And that really brings me to the overriding take-away from last night's affair; the Raptors simply didn't do a good enough job securing a top pick. One of BC's most-sought options in this draft, Harrison Barnes, landed a pick before Toronto.
One pick. Think about that.
Forget the luck of the coin flip, had the Raptors lost more games down the stretch, they would have secured one of Waiters, Lillard or Barnes. It's an unfortunate fact but the current NBA draft system encourages losing games, and last night we saw the ramifications of going against that plan. Every win and loss counts and suddenly the surprising wins over the Celtics and 76ers late in the season meant Ross over the aforementioned three.
(And technically the scenario might have been even more painful as more losses equals more chances to jump into a top three spot in the draft.)
And again, to me that's why the season on a macro level was a disappointment. To win only 23 games, have little if any development from your core youth, and then end up in the draft with Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy to show for it? That hardly feels like the best possible outcome at this point.
It's all revisionist history of course so for now, we'll take Mr. Ross and run with it and await the big Steve Nash push that's coming, yes, in about 48 hours.