Ross Emerging as Sixth Man of the Year Candidate

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - While Philadelphia’s J.J. Redick, the L.A. Clippers’ Lou Williams and New Orleans’ Julius Randle probably lead the pack, Orlando’s Terrence Ross is creeping up in the Sixth Man of the Year race.

In his seventh NBA season and third with the Magic, the 27-year-old is averaging a career high in scoring through 14 games at 13.8 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 10 of those contests, including the last six games.

Not many players throughout the NBA do a better job flying around screens and squaring up for jump shots than Ross, who scored 21 points in Monday’s loss against the Wizards on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor and 4-of-5 from downtown.

The former Washington Husky and the No. 8 overall draft pick in 2012 also excels pulling up for jumpers after taking a couple dribbles in either direction. Leave him open and he will bury spot-up threes routinely, too.

So much attention is drawn to Ross when he’s hot that opponents sometimes have to send help when he puts the ball on the deck. Although he’s not known for his playmaking and facilitating, the veteran guard is a smart player with a knack for finding open teammates when defenders collapse on him.

The Magic acquired Ross nearly two years ago in a mid-season trade for more than just his shooting, though. He’s a terrific defender with a flair for swiping the ball away from careless ball handlers, cutting off driving and passing lanes and deflecting away passes.

Among reserves, the 6-foot-7, 206-pounder is one of the league’s leaders in deflections so far this season.

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