Orlando Magic 2022 Player Evaluations: Terrence Ross takes a step back

Terrence Ross has had a strong and successful run with the Orlando magic. It might be nearing its end. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Terrence Ross has had a strong and successful run with the Orlando magic. It might be nearing its end. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

Entering the season, Terrence Ross knew he was going to be a part of a rebuilding Orlando Magic squad.

Carving out a role while the team was figuring out what they had in their young guns would prove to be a challenge for the veteran guard.

Ross is one of four players from the 2020 playoff team still with the Magic — joining Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and B.J. Johnson, who appeared in four games with the team this season. That speaks to the turnover on the roster in two short seasons and how much the team has really torn things down to restart.

Everyone is trying to find their place in the new vision for the team’s future.

Ross struggled to find his way on the new-look Magic and make most of his decreased role.

Terrence Ross is one of the last holdovers from the Orlando Magic’s recent playoff teams. But he struggled to stand out or fit in with a young group, turning in one of the worst seasons of his career.

His play took a bit of a step back statistically this year, partly due to him not being involved as much. Ross was no longer a priority.

He saw his points per game dip to 10.0 per game, compared to 15.6 last year. That is the biggest drop in points from year to year in his career. It is also the lowest points per game in his career since his injury-riddled 2018 season.

On top of that, he shot poorly and ended up having one of the worst shooting seasons of his career. He shot 39.7-percent from the field and 29.2-percent from the three-point line. That mark from three is the only time in his career that he has shot worse than 30-percent for the season.

Ross took only 8.8 field goal attempts per game, the fewest he has had since that injury filled 2018 season. His usage rate dipped to 20.5-percent.

Jamahl Mosley certainly did not use him with the same creativity and spark that Steve Clifford used him. But to be fair, Ross was coming off the bench where the Magic’s lack of depth had defenses top-blocking him and keeping him from popping out to the 3-point line. Ross was likely priority number one for teams and Ross struggled with the added attention and the inefficient players he was playing with.

Even with his offensive output and efficiency going down this year, there are still signs Ross is productive. He shot 49.3-percent from 2-point range. That is the best he has shot since he was traded to Orlando in 2017.

Ross’s free throw percentage also remained strong as a he shot 86.2-percent from the charity stripe. That shows that Ross should always make it a priority to get to the line and drive to the basket but he did not do enough of that last year.

It was just clear Ross no longer fit the Magic’s plans. Not in the way that he proved to be most effective as he was the previous three seasons under Clifford.

That lack of fit became most evident when the Magic sat Ross as a healthy scratch to end the season.

Toward the end of the year, Ross only appeared in three of the Magic’s 11 games. In that stretch, the Magic gave the younger players a chance to get some reps in.

That was part of the plan for a young, rebuilding team. But this was the theme for Ross throughout the entire season and the end was no different.

The main issue for Ross was finding a rhythm with his minutes decreased from 29 minutes per game to 23 minutes per game.

That decrease in playing time was the reason for most of Ross’s offensive decline. His shot count went down from 13.4 field goal attempts per game to 8.8 attempts per game.

While he was still effective inside of the three-point line, his shot attempts from two-point range went down from 7.7 per game to 4.6 per game. On the other hand, his attempts from three only went down from 5.7 to 4.2 per game.

The NBA has certainly moved to a three-point shooting league but taking the ball to the basket is Ross’ bread and butter and there was not enough of that last year.

His shooting splits indicate he should have moved closer to the hoop to finish through contact and get to the line or pull up from midrange. Instead, he become a spot-up shooter and shot too many threes for a player who shot worse than 30-percent from beyond the arc.

Then again, that is what the Magic were hoping for from Ross. His gravity and the attention defenses gave him was still important. The team just could not spring him free for quality 3-point shots and Ross had to settle for contested shots throughout the season — 5.4 of his 8.8 field goal attempts per game came with the closest defender within four feet of him, according to NBA.com.

Some of that is finding his sweet spot within the lineup which he was not able to do. And that is not all on him.

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With the minutes decreasing and playing with one of the youngest rosters in the league, it is not all his fault that he could not catch his stride.

To expect Ross to get comfortable on arguably the worst offense in the league, with a decreased role, a rookie head coach and on one of the youngest rosters in the league is wishful thinking.

Ross brought a lot of valuable leadership last year to the young Magic players.

He was one of three Magic players older than 30-years-old. Ross was essentially the de facto veteran leader on the team and he was valuable in that role. Since he was one of a few players leftover from the playoff team a few years ago, other players listen.

And he has not complained or decided not to play — despite the reduced role — with the trade rumors swirling for the last two years.

That has definitely not been lost on his teammates who know it is a business and respect the fan-favorite guard

So what is next for the swingman entering his 10th year?

The team traded their old core which included Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon at the 2021 trade deadline. Many thought Ross would be shipped out too.

But he stayed and Ross once again found himself amidst trade rumors the following year.

The Magic sniffed around once again at the 2022 trade deadline for potential offers but were not able to get a package that they liked. They seem to be looking for draft capital in return for Ross but whether they get it remains to be seen.

Ross’s contract is up after next year and he’s currently on the books for $11.5 million next year.

He also made it explicitly clear that he would welcome being traded away from Orlando.

With an expiring deal and possible interest from playoff teams, there is certainly a world where Ross is traded far before the deadline.

He is still got plenty left in the tank and if he can stay healthy, a team is getting a capable scorer off the bench and a man who exudes professionalism.

Final Grade: C

Terrence Ross and the Orlando Magic are headed in different directions. The Magic are investing in their young core and Ross is looking to end his career on a playoff-caliber team.

The product of that relationship caused Ross to have a subpar season to his standards when he is probably better than what the stats say.

At times last year, he was left out of the rotation near the end of games and had trouble finding his shooting stroke all year.

He certainly still has stuff left in the tank but last year definitely didn’t showcase that.

Next. Evaluations: Gary Harris gets his groove back. dark

We may have seen Ross in a Magic uniform for the last time and if he suits up at the start of next season, he will most likely be gone by the end of the year.