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Gary Trent Jr. Will Make The NBA, But Not By Playing Like His Dad

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager


This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Freshman, SG, Duke

6’6, 204 lbs

College Stats in 2017-18:

37 games, 33.8 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 41.5 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 87.6 FT%

Where he’ll go:

Trent is considered a late first-round pick.

The Rundown:

It’s hard to say where Gary Trent Jr. is going to go in the draft. The Minnesota native and Duke freshman said at the Combine that he’s been told he can go anywhere from the late lottery to the second round.

It feels like he’s probably more towards the second-round mark than the lottery, but that doesn’t change the intrigue around Trent. In today’s 3-point barrage that is the NBA, Trent could fit in quite well.

In his freshman season, Trent showcased his ability mostly as a scorer, averaging 14.5 points per game while shooting 40.2 percent from deep on 6.5 attempts per game.

Trent says he’s just scratching the surface and wasn’t able to fully showcase all of his skills during his freshman season at Duke.

“I would say play make a little more than I was able to showcase,” Trent said in Chicago. “More off the dribble . . . Facilitate as well.”

At the NBA level, Trent Jr. has the potential to be a spot-up shooter and a guy who can come around screens. He’s a knock-down shooter and he’s well aware of that, something that caused questionable shots in his freshman season.

Trent was able to catch fire from deep in a hurry at Duke, hitting three or more 3-pointers in 15 of 37 games.

He’s not a player who will beat the defender off the dribble and doesn’t have the big burst to get to the basket. And that’s fine because he knows this. He doesn’t force drives, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he developed a post game with how physical he is. At the NBA level, he should be a very good shooter and if there is more to his game as a facilitator, this would be an added bonus for whoever drafts him.

The problem with Trent is on the defensive end. He gets caught watching the ball and isn’t athletic enough to guard offensive-talented wings. If Trent doesn’t see the floor early in his career, it will be because of his defense, not his offense.

You can’t talk about Trent without talking about his father, Gary Trent Sr. The elder Trent was the 11th-overall pick in the 1995 draft and in nine seasons, he averaged 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as one of the NBA’s tough guys inside. He was only 6’8, but he played a whole lot bigger. Wolves fans are familiar with Trent considering he played in Minnesota from 2001-2004, including Minnesota’s 2003-04 Western Conference Championship run.

As we noted with Aaron Holiday, having a family member with experience in the league can only help a young up-and-coming prospect.

“It’s great. The connections he has, the way he can talk to me about certain things, it’s almost as if I have a cheat sheet in a sense just with all the connections and everyone I know,” Trent said. “I got guys he used to play with who are like uncles to me. It’s great. I have a great supporting cast.”

Trent is the exact opposite player than his dad was, but having his father as a tool throughout this process will help with things rookies deal with for the first time: Long road stretches, the grind of an NBA schedule and the business of basketball.

We could see Trent go at No. 20. Or we could see him get picked at No. 40. The draft is a weird thing.