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Player Preview 2016-17: Who's the Ross?

With a new contract and maturing personality, the Raptors need Terrence Ross to become the go-to guy of the second unit.

NBA: Preseason-Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

In an ideal world, Raptors fans know what performance they should be getting from Terrence Ross: scoring and knockdown three point shooting off the bench, as well as solid perimeter defence on the opponent’s top players.

Far too often in his first four seasons, Ross has shown flashes of being a consistent performer off the pine, but for many stretches has glided through his minutes leaving a negative impact on the game, or being just flat out invisible.

What might cause the inconsistencies for a player who once scored 51 points against an elite NBA team you might ask?

After some deep crunching of numbers, it all comes down to which accessories Terry, TJ or Terrence decides to deck himself out in before game time:

During Ross’ best stretch of basketball last year from December 3rd until April 12th (with the exception of December 17th and 28th), he graced the court in only a headband and not his customary sleeves, shooting 45 percent in the process which tops his career average. When the playoffs rolled around, higher stakes and pressure be damned, he went back to the Ross accessory game of old, putting on both sleeves while his shooting dropped back to just 40 percent.

That could all change this season as Ross has looked phenomenal this preseason as a go-to guy off the bench, even while wearing double sleeves. Granted it is an extremely small sample size, but in three games this October he’s shooting over 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three point range to the tune of 13 points per game.

As you can see in the highlights he’s passing the eye test as well, making confident decisions without hesitation to either get the bucket himself or get into the lane, draw defenders and find the open man.

Too many times last season the second unit was completely stagnant on offence and would need a jolt from one of the starters to get them going, which led to all that extra wear and tear on Lowry and DeRozan. If Ross can become the facilitator for the bench mob, it will not only ensure there isn’t a staunch drop off in the game when the starters check out, but also play a part in keeping the All-Stars fresh for the post season.

Armed with a new contract (which now looks like a steal with the cap boom), a maturing attitude and a push from the young guys behind him, look for this to be the season Ross grows into the player we’ve all been hoping for.