Monday, November 2nd, the Toronto Raptors signed Terrence Ross to a 3 year, approximately $31-million dollar deal. Ross was controversially selected 8th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft from the University of Washington. With many names still left on the board at the time – Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers, Kendall Marshall, Terrence Jones (all picks the Raptors considered at the time) – they decided to take the athletic swingman.
So far into his three year career, Ross has well-established what he does well in the league, but has also exemplified his major weaknesses. The question remains – is the extension worth it?
To this point, Ross has shown some very prominent abilities. Ross is a career 37% three-point shooter, and 4 games into the 2015-2016 season, has provided very valuable floor spacing. He is also a fantastic athlete, which has been illustrated in some of the past seasons’ most electrifying finishes at the rim, and his appearances in the All-Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk Contest.
Defence has been one of the biggest praises of Ross’ career thus far. Ross has demonstrated quick feet, nagging on-ball and off-ball defence, and the ability to recover quickly in scramble situations.
Ross is a product of this era’s basketball style: defence, three-point shooting, and athleticism. The league has gone into a small-ball style of play, which needs capable defensive players and at the very least, perimeter players that’ll keep the defences honest. He’s also proven that he is able to explode for major games, referring all the way back to his 51-point game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and even into this season where he’s had hot spurts.
For all the positives associated with T Ross, there are definitely some concerning aspects that virtually everyone has seen thus far.
He’s played out of position for the most part of his career, which may have eaten into his confidence, but it doesn’t excuse the lack of effort, drive, and consistency. There are games where Ross plays well; defends and consistently hits shots, but a lot of the time he’s non-existent.
Ross has added little to his game in his tenure with the Raptors, and quite frankly, it’s surprising he is still wearing a Raptors uniform. He’s averaged 9.1 PPG over his career, however the lack of improvements has to be concerning. Ross’ last season was indisputably worse than his sophomore year. The supposed injuries he was suffering was cited as an excuse by Dwane Casey – whether it has any merit is yet to be seen.
Despite the future rise in the salary cap, $33-million dollars over three years is not a bargain for Ross’ production. This contract is based on his potential, which Masai Ujiri and staff hope to use as a motivating factor for Ross to play well.
The extension was likely made to take control of Ross’ contract. If he doesn’t play well, the Raptors have the hand of moving him, whereas if he does have a good season, the Raptors may have ended up paying even more than what is already a costly extension.
With that being said, after 4 games, Ross has shown some major improvement and increased confidence in his game. However, the consistency will be the key once again. Let’s hope, for Masai Ujiri’s sake, that Ross shows that improvement management is banking on.
Some of our authors gave their reactions and thoughts to the Terrence Ross’ contract extension:
Sachin: A lot of people are freaking out, but in reality this is Ross’ current market value. You can thank the rising cap and precedent set by guys like Jeremy Lamb and Tristan Thompson. With that being said, the price isn’t ridiculous. Ross has been inconsistent throughout his career thus far, and frustrating to watch. However, Ross is probably the most talented guy on the Raps – if he can string it together and untap some of that potential, this could turn into a very good deal. Giving him up for virtually nothing at a relatively young age would be a risk in itself.
Deighton: I’ll admit, when I hopped out of the shower to see that Terrence Ross had just secured a 3-year, $33-million dollar extension, I was a bit surprised. With Jeremy Lamb signing a 3-year, $21-million dollar deal just the other day, it would’ve been safe to assume that Ross’ deal would’ve been similar based on his on-court production. This however was not the case. Ross’ deal definitely exceeded my expectations however its perfectly justifiable. A lot of people are upset because he hasn’t ‘earned’ his extension. His production thus far doesn’t equate to a $33-million dollar extension…blah blah blah. The way I see it, with the cap set to increase exponentially, Ross’ deal will prove to be of value in the next few years. Much like the contracts of Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan when they signed their extensions. What Masai has done is take control of his roster situation. Ross is a player with so many questions marks surrounding his career. Why was he taken 8th, why doesn’t he look like he cares? Why has his production dropped? A couple questions Masai no longer has to worry about is who will Ross sign an offer sheet with if he were a RFA. How long do the Raptors have to wait before Ross makes a FA decision. With a new contract Ross becomes that much more moveable if that’s what it has to come down to. A pending RFA without an idea of his value vs. A player with a set contract is a lot harder to move. Ujiri has essentially put the pressure on Ross instead of Ross’ agent putting the pressure on the Raptors come the off-season to make a decision. The Raptors made their decision with Ross. It’s now time for Ross to show up or get shipped out.
NJ: My initial reaction upon hearing of Terrence Ross’ 3 year extension was confusion. After spending the past day working my way through multiple different methods of reasoning I still don’t exactly know what to make of this deal. First of all, T-Ross needs to send his agent a nice bonus this Christmas because he was able to absolutely maximize Ross’ market value without even having to test the market. Look, I get that management wants to keep Terrence around as he matures into his prime and the $33M figure isn’t going to be as ghastly as it looks now in a couple years, but players have to be awarded contracts that are at least somewhat representative of their on-court production. Can anybody tell me what he brings to the table with any consistency besides a solid three-point jumpshot? He is underwhelming in literally every other area. He’s also not that young either, at 24 he’s only 1.5 years younger than DeRozan and has shown nowhere near the latter’s drive to improve and expand his game. Masai is banking on Terrence becoming a very good bench player, which shouldn’t be beyond his capabilities, but he hasn’t proven he can be a good basketball player in general yet. I’d love to be wrong about this one cause this guy has all the tools in the world. Here’s to hoping this contract provides the motivation he needed.
Emerson: This is a roll of the dice for Ujiri. This deal has the potential to be a huge bargain, similar to the most recent deals DeRozan and Kyle Lowry signed. Ross is a player with great defensive potential and a solid outside stroke, two of the most desired qualities in today’s NBA. However, Ross has neither the work ethic of DeRozan nor the intensity of Lowry. That’s what makes the deal such a gamble. Ross has shown flashes of being a very valuable piece on a contending team, but he’s never proven he can be consistent over the course of an entire season. If he can put it all together, he can take this team to the next level. If not, the deal will be a blemish on Ujiri’s tenure.
RJ: I personally don’t mind the deal. I get that it’s a deal on potential but with the cap skyrocketing next year, 11m per year could end up being the norm for bench guys. The talent and potential are there, he just needs to get consistent. He’s played well so far although it’s a small sample size. We don’t want him to go to the New York Knicks or something and blow up.