The Magic are a day away from a pretty big Draft night. This will be the first major decision that Rob Hennigan makes and he has had very little time to do a lot of in-person evaluation. The Magic themselves have not had a whole ton of prospects come to Amway Center. On top of that, Hennigan has fired a good chunk of the Magic’s scouting personnel.
We are seeing pretty clearly that the new general manager regime is going to value the notes taken during the season and not during individual workouts. That is actually a pretty good path to success, since games are pretty important.
It is still anyone’s guess where the Magic will go or if they even keep their pick to position themselves for some other move. Nobody really knows what Hennigan is going to do.
That brings us to our next prospect profile. If the Magic go with a guard, there are plenty of talented combo guards out there. Washington’s Terrence Ross could be a really good fit.
Ross is a slashing, scoring wing player who many believe can play both wing positions and create his own shot. He averaged 16.4 points per game last year and shot 45.7 percent from the floor, proving capable of stepping up when he got more minutes. Like Ryan Anderson, his increase in playing time led to a consistent increase in his production. This suggests he can come into the league and take on a bench role if asked to do so.
The Good: Ross is a scorer. That is what he can do. And he is a creator too. Those are two things the Magic desperately need more of. Ross posted 53.4 percent effective field goal percentage and a 55.7 percent true shooting percentage. He also finished seventh in the Pac-12 in shooting 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Playing alongside fellow first round prospect Tony Wroten, Ross and the Huskies were a high-flyingteam that could get out on the run and run a fast break much like an NBA team. This is probably Ross’ biggest strength, he is a slasher that can get to the basket and an athlete who can get out and finish on the break.
At 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, Ross also looks like a wing player. That is not the be-all, end-all for a player without doubt. But it suggests Ross can play either guard position and develop into a solid defender. That was something he was good at in college anyway.
More than that, Ross was also pretty responsible with the ball. He had only 2.0 turnovers per game in 30-plus minutes per game for a turnover rate of 15.5 percent. This is not a great number, but it is decent enough, especially for a young player who slashes to the basket and tries to score.
The Bad: So why is Ross slated to go in the middle of the first round then? Consistency seems to be his main issue. Ross seemingly has the talent to do more but kind of faded into the background at times. That was OK for Washington seeing as they have Tony Wroten. But it means he is more of a complementary piece than a starter in the NBA.
His 3-point shooting is fine at 37 percent, but it is not great. It seems he suffers from the “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” problem that plagues many solid college players. The only problem is, he does not have one great defining skill.
He can be a great scorer, but he never dominated in college — he did have two games where he scored better than 30 points (including one against my Northwestern Wildcats in the NIT where the Huskies just out-athleted the precise Wildcat offense). And it does not help that Washington, despite two potential first-round picks, struggled as a team. It suggests that Ross (or Wroten) never really took control and boosted the team to a higher level — particularly in a weak Pac-12.
The question for Ross is going to be how he fits into a team when he is not the guy with the ball or the center of attention. This is where Ross seemed to get lost sometimes. In the three games where Ross scored fewer than 10 points, Wroten averaged 19.3 points per game, including 22.0 points per game in Washington’s two wins. This suggests Ross’ production can suffer when other star players are getting going.
For the most part though, Ross is as advertised. A dynamic and athletic scorer who could use general improvement everywhere in his game.
Draft Sites Say:
NBADraft.net: “Solid ball-handler …Very good court vision, finding teammates off P&R, or fast break … Runs the lane well in transition with ability to spot up on the wing or finish a lob …Despite his confidence, can seemingly get lost in the flow of the game at times … Needs to further develop explosive first step, to use quickness to his advantage … Must improve finishing at the rim on non-dunks.”
Joe Treutlein, DraftExpress: “Ross is at his best knocking down shots with his feet set, having very good accuracy in space and not needing much time or room to get his shot off due to his high and quick release. He’s also very dangerous and confident with his pull-up jumper, though is less consistent with this area of his game depending on the situation. Due to his limited ball-handling, Ross operates in this area almost strictly on quick one or two-dribble pull-ups, but is excellent when he’s able to keep his balance. He can get into some trouble at times when moving from side to side into his shot or settling for some awkward fadeaways, but has done a better job with his shot selection overall this season.”
Evan Dunlap, Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Ross would be an ideal player for the because the Magic really need a talented, athletic swingman such as Ross, with his combination of physical tools, defense, perimeter shooting, and ability to attack the rim off the ball. There is practically no chance, though, that Ross will be available when the Magic pick 19th, and has a good chance to be picked in the top ten of the draft.”
Tom Ziller, SB Nation: “Ross could be a fine fit in Orlando, but frankly, I’d say that about just about anyone, because I have no idea what the Magic are doing.”
Peter Walsh, SLAM: “With his size and athleticism, he has the ability to create his own shot either off the dribble or off a pick, which is attractive to an Orlando team that needs firepower. When he’s ‘on,’ he is one of the better scorers in the Draft and ended the season strong, averaging 25.0 ppg during the NIT.”
Final Word: Ross is an incredibly interesting prospect because of his scoring ability. That is likely going to keep him from being available at 19. But if he is, the Magic need to jump.
Ross has all the tools to develop into a very fine role player in the NBA. He is long and athletic and already has a decent grasp of understanding what his team needs him to do. More than that, he can step up and carry the load when he needs to. He is one of the more underrated scorers in this Draft, but it is his ability to fit into a role that I think will make him a great pick.
There are questions about him. He has to show a consistency of assertiveness and prove his athleticism will translate to the next level. He also has to show he can score and create for others in the half court too. Those are minor problems if he gets selected by a team like the Magic though.