2019-20 Magic Pre-Hiatus Review: Terrence Ross

by John Denton

ORLANDO - Whereas the NBA is still on track to resume its interrupted season on July 30 at Disney World, in many ways that restart will feel like a completely new season to the players and coaches involved.

After all, it will be more than four months of time between the last NBA games being played on March 11 and the ones scheduled to start near the end of next month. Never before has the NBA seen a disruption in its season quite like the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic this season.

The Orlando Magic, for example, were 30-35 when the season was halted, but that record hardly tells the story of where the team sat when the suspension hit. As of early March, the Magic were among the hottest teams in the league after winning three games in a row, six of nine and eight of 12. Accordingly, their offensive production was off the charts and near the tops in the league during that hot streak.

Now, the Magic’s mission is to try and pick up where they left off when they rallied to beat the Grizzlies in Memphis on March 10. If that stirring victory feels like it was months ago, it’s because it truly was.

Over the coming weeks, OrlandoMagic.com will break down the overall play and top performances of the Magic’s key players over the first 65 games of the season. Also, we’ll analyze where those players need to improve when the NBA season resumes at Disney World on July 30. The NBA is sending 22 teams – nine from the East and 13 from the West – to play eight ``seeding’’ games before starting the traditional, four-round playoff format.

Without further ado, today we look at the play and production of reserve shooting guard Terrence Ross, who eventually adjusted to the increased attention that defenders have given him and started to play his best basketball of the season just before the NBA season was stopped.

Player: Terrence Ross
Position: Shooting guard
Height, weight, time with Magic: 6-7, 206, 4 seasons

2019-20 Statistics: 63 games; 14.8 points; 3.2 rebounds; 1.2 assists; 1.1 steals; 40.7 FG percentage; 35.7 3FG percentage; 84.5 FT percentage.

2019-20 Best game: Feb. 28 (136-125 win vs. Minnesota) – 33 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, 13-of-25 shooting and seven-of-15 3-point shooting.

2019-20 Injury woes: Missed two games (Nov. 6-8) due to a sore right knee.

2019-20 Season highs: 35 points (March 4, at Miami); eight rebounds (Feb. 24, at Brooklyn); three assists (eight times, most recently Feb. 28, vs. Minnesota); four steals (twice, most recently Feb. 12, vs. Detroit); two blocks (three times, most recently Feb. 6 at New York).

2019-20 Season to date: A season after becoming the first player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-point shots without starting a game and averaging career-best numbers across the board, Ross faced some increased scrutiny from opposing defenses early this season. After a bit of an adjustment period, Ross figured out ways to shake free for open shots so that he could once again become one of the most lethal bench players in the NBA. Ross’ best play and shooting of the season came in February (16.8 points on 37.8 percent 3-point shooting) and March (22.8 points on 53.5 percent 3-point shooting) – coinciding with the Magic’s best extended stretch of play all season.

Ross has once again been something of a dynamic closer for the Magic, doing much of his scoring damage in the fourth quarters of games to either preserve wins or propel Orlando into the lead. This season, he has averaged 4.5 points per game in fourth quarters (second on the Magic only to Nikola Vucevic’s 4.7 points per fourth quarter). In those fourth quarters of games, Ross is shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 39.9 percent from 3-point range.

2019-20 Finish: Because he is such a key figure in the Magic’s offense – especially late in games – it stands to reason that Orlando tends to have more success when Ross gets it rolling offensively. This season, Ross has averaged 16.2 points on 40.7 percent 3-point shooting in the 29 wins he’s participated in. Conversely, he’s averaged just 13.5 points on 31.1 percent of his 3-point shooting in the 34 losses that he’s played in.

Opposing teams are likely to run multiple defenders at Ross when the season resumes and assuredly at the start of the playoffs. That’s what Toronto did last spring in the first round of the playoffs, allowing it to silence one of Orlando’s top offensive threats.

Ross is a willing passer when double-teamed, but it is incumbent on his teammates to be aggressive and make shots to keep defenses honest and not trapping him on pick-and-roll plays.

Even if teams do train their focus on trying to slow down Ross that doesn’t necessarily mean they will have success doing so. Because of his fearlessness in taking long-range shots and the lift that he gets on his tries, Ross is still plenty of burning foes even when they crowd his space. His ability to pile up points in bunches means the Magic are rarely ever out of games and they are especially dangerous when the talented shooting guard gets it going from deep.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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