Technically, the Raptors got Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes for Rudy Gay.
But Toronto also got a new spirit.
Without the shoot-first, do-little-else Gay, the Raptors have gone 3-1. They’re just clicking a little better. They might be playing with a little more passion, too.
Terrence Ross certainly is.
Landry Fields replaced Gay in the starting lineup in Toronto’s first game after the trade, but Ross had 11 points and two steals off the bench. He’s started the three games since, averaging 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.
“It’s an opportunity,” Ross said. “Probably the biggest opportunity of my career so I’m just taking advantage of it and making sure I capitalize on things.”
“I’m doing anything and everything to keep the position I have right now,” Ross said. “It’s not only about scoring. It’s about doing whatever you are asked and playing hard on defence and really not having any mental lapses.”
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This is why trading Gay was necessary.
Ross, 22, has shown flashes of brilliances in his two-year career. He’s also been unsteady.
The Raptors must figure out what they have in Ross, and this will give them a chance to do that.
If Ross plays well, he should set himself up as a key piece of their core. If he doesn’t, they will seek to add another wing player. The choice doesn’t need to reveal itself immediately, but it must become clear eventually.
At least Masai Ujiri will have the luxury of seeing Ross in a full opportunity and with full motivation, which should make the general manager’s assessment easier.