If there’s a dialog I’d prefer to be aware about it must be the Raptors brass speaking amongst themselves earlier than they handed Gary Trent Jr. his deal. Letting him stroll wouldn’t have mirrored nicely, nevertheless it wouldn’t have been calamitous both. I think about they requested him the equal of a “the place do you see your self in 5 years?” query and he responded by saying he’s going to be profitable the defensive participant of the yr. To which Ujiri and Webster exchanged glances which meant one in all:
This man’s a bullshitter
Wow, what ambition!
Good objective buddy, however how about we begin by what a defensive stance is
Regardless of the query and regardless of the reply, someplace in there Raptors determined that the online current worth of Gary Trent Jr., is bigger than, a) no matter else they’d’ve spent that cash on this summer season, b) not spending it this summer season. To see this funding by way of, the Raptors are banking on a number of issues.
First, Trent’s free throw capturing price is abysmal and might solely enhance. He had a FTr (variety of FT makes an attempt per FG try) of 11.9%. By comparability, Khris Middleton is at 23.3%, Jamal Crawford completed his profession at 26% and DeMar DeRozan is at 40.6%. Trent doesn’t hesitate to hoist mid-range and lengthy jumpers and infrequently seems to be to attract contact on the rim. In his protection, it’s onerous to develop a knack for attacking and going to the road when your position is to be a shooter. In Portland he wasn’t requested to be the man to enter the bushes as a result of their model of play was to unfold the ground and let Lillard and McCollum run the present.
In Toronto, his position would possibly find yourself being related if the Raptors determine to play a better tempo. I wouldn’t suppose they’d wish to sluggish the sport down, and would favor Trent capturing to maintain the stream going. As with all issues there’s a steadiness to be struck. Trent will get a chance to supply in half-court settings the place the staff tends to wrestle. It’s in these moments that his profile as a scorer, not simply in open play however in tight quarters, has a chance to be constructed. This can be a level of development for him the place he’ll wrestle as a result of he’ll need to earn the respect from the refs which will likely be a tall order given his fame. The query is whether or not he can face up to the frustration and battle by way of the ebbs of the non-calls. Some hit that wall and keep on the perimeter. Others push on.
Second, his help numbers are woeful. He averages 1.5 assists per 36 minutes, and that’s with a utilization price of 23%. It’s not like he’s not dealing with the ball, he simply doesn’t have a nostril for the go. That is equally troubling because the free throw price as a result of the Raptors don’t desire a black gap on the staff. Black holes are good in the event that they’re superstars (and even then not likely), however your beginning capturing guard swallowing possessions on a staff constructed for transition, tempo and getting out on the break doesn’t bode nicely. He’s additionally an incredible instance of how a excessive utilization price and low turnover price doesn’t essentially imply you’re a superb ball-handler. You’re simply not taking dangers. His 538 projections are obvious on this level.
It’s going to be troublesome for him to kick these assists up a notch within the conventional method as a result of he’s not a drive-and-kick man. He hasn’t been tasked to run the offense so it’s not like he’s received a eager eye for pinpoint courtroom positioning of his teammates. His instincts are to concentrate on scoring, and solely go when out of choices. This has to alter as a result of he has to view himself as a cog within the wheel relatively than the purpose of focus. One of the simplest ways for him to lift his help numbers is for his teammates to get into the behavior of presenting themselves, as a result of in the event that they’re not presenting, he’s not passing. Very similar to how Scottie Barnes is exhibiting a need to go if teammates lower, the identical should occur for Trent Jr. He’s not going to be creating photographs for others out of one-on-play alone.
Third, defensively he has to show that he’s a internet optimistic or at worst, even (see above graphic: he’s purple in each defensive class). The Raptors can’t afford to have a leaky half of their defensive engine as a result of this staff will wrestle to attain, and protection is their spine. He was guarding a considerably disinterested Bradley Beal within the pre-season matchup and held his personal, although it did take away from his offense. That is the world the place Trent has the best potential to develop this season. He’s enjoying with Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet. This can be a far cry from Portland which was the second worst defensive staff within the league (solely the Kings had been worse). I might suppose simply being round a tradition of protection can be motivating and galvanizing for him. I can even see Nick Nurse proving some extent in video games this season the place Trent would possibly get benched as a result of he sees somebody like Malachi Flynn or Yuta Watanabe as a greater defensive cowl regardless of not being pure twos.
We frequently evaluate Norman Powell’s established ceiling to Trent’s unknown ceiling as rationale for this swap, however as a substitute we ought to be evaluating Trent’s ground with Powell’s ceiling. Trent’s an sufficient sufficient scorer already to switch Powell. The latter averaged 16, 19.6 and 17 factors his final three seasons when he was 25, 26 and 27, respectively. Trent put up 16.2 factors at 22 years of age. His offensive ground is (give or take) Powell’s offensive ceiling. Defensively, the Raptors may afford to surrender one thing on protection given their abundance of riches there, so irrespective of how his season pans out it performs out nicely for the Raptors, particularly given their rebuilding context. There additionally a lot isn’t the best way of competitors on the SG for Trent as Dragic seems to be a transient participant, Flynn has been inconsistent and Svi Mykhailiuk is recent as they arrive. So regardless of all of the knocks towards Trent he’ll very probably proceed to progress his ability and tackle his deficiencies as a result of he’ll get the one factor that develops a participant essentially the most: enjoying time.
One may additionally ask whether or not Trent even wants to change his strategy. Maybe his trajectory goes to be of a pure scorer like Lou Williams or the aforementioned Jamal Crawford. When calculating Trent’s worth, we are able to’t restrict ourselves to an extrapolation based mostly on him fixing these three issues, but in addition of whether or not he fixes none. In that case he turns into, on the very least, a marketable asset in summers to return as a result of pure scorers are all the time in demand. The Raptors could also be a bit elitist in terms of filtering for defensive capability, however most groups aren’t, and for them a scorer like Trent who shoots 39% from three is an efficient get.
Samson talked about Gary Trent Jr. with me a pair weeks again as nicely:
Why is Gary Trent Jr. a feast or famine participant?
A video on why shot-making is nice, however affecting the protection is what basketball is about.
watch the pod on YT, or hear wherever you take heed to podcasthttps://t.co/NmSGl4ZGOI pic.twitter.com/OkNHzdNONY
— Samson People (@samfolkk) October 8, 2021
Let the season start.
The Surprisingly Acceptable Flaws of Gary Trent Jr. originated on Raptors Republic.