2022 Orlando Magic Player Outlook: Terrence Ross is still important for the Orlando Magic

Terrence Ross was the perfect sixth man for the Orlando Magic through his tenure. And even while some may say his time is coming up (he has two years left on his contract), there is still an argument he is going to be essential to the Magic this season.

Ross has developed the reputation as one of the most dangerous sixth men in the league. He can shoot his team back from any deficit. It is what has made him one of the best sixth men in the league and why the team relies on him as a closer time and time again.

With such a young roster, the Magic will need their veterans to provide some stability. And Ross will take on this role this year in addition to his usual sixth man spark-plug role.

Despite his role, Ross will be an important piece on and off the court for the Magic. Orlando will be focused on development this season, and Ross will be a direct influence on the younger players on the roster.

No matter what way anyone looks at it, Ross can not be overlooked.

The Orlando Magic will rely once again on Terrence Ross to be their sixth man spark-plug. But he will also be a needed veteran for a young roster that is starting to develop.

It would not be fair to judge Ross based on last season because of the lack of continuity around him.

Ross averaged a career-high 15.6 points per game last year, but he was not the most efficient. He shot 41.2-percent from the field and 33.7-percent from three. In comparison, although it is a smaller sample size, in the first eight games where the Magic were relatively healthy, Ross averaged 18.1 points per game on 49.4-percent from the field and 42.2-percent from beyond the arc.

When Ross is rolling, the Magic were an extremely dangerous team. But things have changed dramatically.

The difference between the two sample sizes is that the personnel around Ross changed.

After the trade deadline, Ross averaged 14.2 points per game with a 40.5-percent field goal percentage and 20.5-percent from deep in the 10 games he played after the trade deadline. It was not the best look for such a key player.

Ross has come down from that high of the 2019 season in some respects, his shooting numbers also decreased in 2020 too. Even without that, Ross remains a huge threat.

According to data from Basketball Index, Ross rated in the 88th percentile in terms of gravity. He is also one of the best players at creating and taking tough 3-pointers. Every number suggests Ross has power, even when he is not making shots.

Ross was always a focus for opposing defenses, but as more players began to face injuries, the opposing team’s defense focused more on Ross and made the Magic struggle to find Ross consistently good looks.

Now, as the roster is healthy again, Ross will be able to provide spacing for the other players and create a stronger base for their offense.

As the focus on the Magic’s season will be developed, the Magic must have a structured offense that will succeed during games. The Magic do not have many strong shooters by reputation, so a player like Ross becomes even more valuable for a team that is trying to build the right way.

According to NBA.com’s tracking stats, Ross made 41.7-percent on wide-open 3-pointers (where the defender is more than six feet away). Ross also hit 40.0-percent from three on shots where the closest defender was 4-6 feet away. This represents nearly half of his 3-point attempts from last year.

Teams still know they cannot leave Ross open.

Still, the Magic will need more from Ross. He struggled mightily from beyond the arc last year as his volume continued to rise and his efficiency dropped.

Ross certainly was trying to take more twos, using a dribble pull-up and cutting some of his cuts short in a way to get open and take what the defense was giving him. He took a career-high 7.7 2-point field goal attempts last year as his 3-point attempts dipped to just more than five per game.

Orlando certainly would like to find a way to get Ross more 3-point attempts. But the expansion to Ross’ game will help him and the team. The question will be if Ross can become more efficient.

That would help the team on the court immediately. But Ross’ impact goes beyond that.

Off the court, Ross provides veteran leadership that is important to building a strong culture. Only Terrence Ross, Robin Lopez and E’Twaun Moore are at least 30 years old. Each veteran will bring something to the organization alongside other veterans like Gary Harris and Michael Carter-Williams.

However, Ross is likely to spend the most time on the court of that group of players, so his importance rises.

Keeping a player like Ross is going to help win games. While some may say Orlando should take another year of losing, it is important to avoid a losing culture and start to develop winning habits that carry over. Overall for development, Ross will end up being a positive for the Magic’s young core.

If Ross can improve his efficiency marks from the 2021 season and remain a deadly scorer, the Magic will be a much more effective team. It will put those young players in a better position to succeed and grow.

That is ultimately what Ross’ role is about.

In the end, a young team needs its veterans to develop the right way. Terrence Ross is essential to the Magic’s young core to grow and develop the right way.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman consistently states the Magic want to build their team the right way, and part of that is trying to build a culture that will sustain. Regardless of the angle, Ross will be an important piece of the Magic’s puzzle.