Terrence Ross teased fans with what could be in a deceptively good opening night performance in the Magic’s win over the Miami Heat. When he’s hot, he’s hot — there’s no denying that. But can T-Ross stay in the kitchen all season?
The eighth overall pick out of Washington in 2012, Terrence Ross has been been other-worldly at times. He won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest his rookie year and exploded for 51 points against the Clippers in his second season in the league, tying Vince Carter’s record for most points scored in a single game by a Toronto Raptor.
Ross’ 51-point game was all the more unusual because he was averaging nine points a game at the time, making him the only player in NBA history to score 50 or more points while averaging under 10 points a game.
But he’s also prone to disappearing on the court. Invisibility isn’t a super power you want if you’re a basketball player.
In a word, he’s streaky.
He arrived mid-season last year in Orlando via a trade with the Raptors that sent Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick down to Florida in exchange for Serge Ibaka. Ross started all 24 games he played for the Magic last year; he started 0 of the 54 games he appeared in for the Raptors last year. Any time you can go from benchwarmer to starter, you’ve made a power move.
This season, his opening night numbers don’t jump off the page at you, initially. 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. But the Magic were +18 when he was on the floor, and that is an impressive statistic.
The Magic aren’t naive enough to think that they’ll get through LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a starting lineup of Nikola Vucevic (A.K.A. Vucci Mane), Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, and Elfrid Payton, but they’ll be a decent team in the East this year, especially if Terrence Ross’ opening night performance was an indication of things to come from him.