2022 Orlando Magic Time To Step Up: Terrence Ross’ 3-point field goal percentage

Terrence Ross already soaks up a lot of attention as a 3-point shooter. Now he has to make them again more consistently. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Terrence Ross already soaks up a lot of attention as a 3-point shooter. Now he has to make them again more consistently. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

To hear Terrence Ross tell it, the torch is already being lit.

On his podcast earlier this week, Ross gave a scouting report on the Orlando Magic’s pick-up runs at the AdventHealth Practice Facility (the one inside Amway Center, for now) and reported that he was out there winning games in their runs.

Nobody questions Ross’ ability to catch fire. That is what has endeared him among Magic fans throughout his six seasons with the team. It is what has made him one of the best shooters in Magic history.

Even with the potential for a trade still hanging over him — Ross seemingly requested a trade from the Magic to play for a more competitive team but it never seemed like Ross was desperate to leave his contract status would seemingly suggest this will be his last year in Orlando regardless — Ross is still in Orlando and still an important player for the Magic.

Part of the reason for both sides of that equation was Ross’ struggles throughout the 2022 season. And the Magic need Ross to be a dynamite three-point shooter.

The Magic need Ross to be a more efficient and effective three-point shooter. They need him to make more.

Terrence Ross struggled in the 2022 season as his shooting betrayed him. But he remains the Orlando Magic’s best and most important 3-point shooter. He just has to make them again.

The Magic expect Ross to be the team’s super sixth man. They need him to be a shooter and to keep defenses occupied. They need him to win a few games and create a spark in the fourth quarter.

But the 2022 season was his worst in a Magic uniform.

He averaged 10.0 points per game and shot 29.2 percent from beyond the arc on 4.2 3-point attempts per game. That was the worst 3-point field goal percentage and his 1.2 3-pointers made per game since his rookie year.

It was an awful year for Ross no matter how anyone cuts it. The worst parts of Ross’ game came to the forefront.

He is just as likely to shoot his team back into games as he will shoot them out of it. But he was shooting the magic out of a lot of games.

Ross shot five or more 3-pointers in 29 games last year. He shot worse than 40 percent in 17 of those games and worse than 30 percent in 13 of those games. Ross failed to make a 3-pointer in four of those games, including two 0-for-6 performances.

Compare that to his breakout 2019 season when he had 65 games with five or more 3-pointers and had 37 games where he shot worse than 40 percent and 21 games shooting worse than 30 percent.

It is undoubted Ross will have these wild swings and the Magic are always gambling on the good outweighing the bad with him. It worked in 2019 to deliver the team back to the playoffs. But things have slowly deteriorated since then.

This is where Ross might be right that he will find more success with a winning team. He needs players to soak some of the attention from him. That just did not happen this year in Orlando.

Opponents have targeted Ross as one of the most important players on the Magic to defend. They top block him to prevent him from catching it beyond the arc and winding up into his 3-point shots.

He got a lot of attention. That is among the reasons why he is still vital for the team.

All of Ross’ shooting numbers were among the worst in the league last year. According to data from Basketball Index, he had a 3-point shot quality of -3.08, placing him in the first percentile in the league. He also took a ton of contested three. His openness rating was at -2.69, again in the first percentile.

Defenses swarmed Ross and kept him from making any kind of impact.

It showed in his percentages.

It is not just the 29.2-percent overall 3-point percentage. It was that he shot 26.4-percent on pull-up threes, 30.2-percent on catch-and-shoot threes and 29.3-percent on above-the-break threes. The only place he shot well was in the corners — at 32.4-percent.

Ross took a ton of threes. That was his role. He just struggled to hit them.

It is no wonder then the Magic had a worse offensive rating with Ross on the floor. Orlando scored 101.9 points per 100 possessions with Ross on the floor, including a 49.3-percent effective field goal percentage.

Those are both below the team’s season averages (103.9 points per 100 possessions and a 50.3-percent effective field goal percentage). But they were not that far below.

If Ross is able to hit his three-pointers more consistently, it is easy to see how quickly the Magic’s offense could skyrocket. That could be the case for a lot of players on the Magic’s roster.

But one thing the Magic know about Ross is they have seen him play at that high level and impact games in meaningful ways. Orlando knows what he can do. And that was what was missing last year.

It is clear from the numbers that even without his 3-point shooting, Ross warps defenses. So if Orlando can get a little better 3-point shooting from him, he is going to make others better and give them more space.

He is already doing that.

The problem for the Magic is they were very thin and some of the lineups they had did not give Ross the support he needed to get space. Orlando had to lean on him more to find some offense. And defenses put more pressure on him.

It is a symbiotic relationship. The more the Magic get better players around Ross, the more he can succeed and ease that attention. That allows Ross to get more open shots and better chances to shoot. And that allows Ross to be a threat to give others more space to shoot and score too.

This is essential to the team’s success, especially off the bench.

For now, Ross is on the team and remains one of the most important players on the team. He is the greatest shooting threat and the best 3-point shooter on the team. He is vital if this team wants to do anything special this season.

Ross has to be a more effective 3-point shooter. He is already a big enough threat to make others better. Defenses respect his 3-point shot even if he is not making them.

How the Orlando Magic look in NBA 2K23. dark. Next

If he starts making threes, the Magic could really turn a corner offensively again and make the kind of run in 2019 when Ross was central to the team’s success.