Gary Trent Jr. proving to the Raptors how valuable he is as a reliable and competent scorer

January 12, 2023

Toronto Raptors head coach, Nick Nurse, addressed Gary Trent Jr. in front of the public almost two months ago. Begin to improve your game. We wanted him to be a troublemaker, the stern words said. If he does that, he fits with us; otherwise, he doesn’t.”


A few days later, Nurse decided to put Trent on the bench for the 1st time this year, sending the message again. Trent was in the worst shooting slump of his career, and his defense had significantly deteriorated.


Some players didn’t like the move. For instance, Scottie Barnes struggled to conceal his resentment over being benched in November. Trent, however, showed no signs of complaining, quitting, or giving up.


Tuesday, Nurse said, “He’s been as professional as he can be about all of it.”. “Even when you go to speak to him, his attitude is, man, I’m going to work, do my tasks, and assist you as needed.”


Trent is aware that he is the subject of trade deadline rumors, and there is no question that he is aware of the terms of his contract as this summer’s significant free agency draws near. Yet there has been no indication that it has reached him.


He has consistently answered the call, though. In the last two months, he has developed into Toronto’s second-best offensive weapon after a brief illness and injury earlier in the year. He scored 20.6 points per game. Since being benched, on November 28, he has shot 48.1% from the field and 41.7% from behind the arc. He ranked second on the team during this time.


In addition to improving his three-point shooting, Trent has experienced a comeback and is now becoming a complete offensive player. This season, he is shooting 63.3% of shots within eight feet of the basket, up from 49.5% last season, and his playmaking has been improving recently.


“They believe he’s going to shoot it, but he hits the pocket [pass], he makes the roller a few times, and his basketball IQ is improving,” Chris Boucher said after Wednesday.


I must improve my left hand. Trent continued, “I just tried to attack everything, but I need to get my ball hand better and playmaking better. “Come back with something new, come back better every year, and keep showing improvement[ment].”


Trent has progressed from a bench player with the Portland Trail Blazers after being selected in the second round to a rotation player and eventual starter with the Raptors, thanks to Pascal Siakam’s method. He has taken ideas from his father, Gary Trent Sr., as well as some of Siakam’s developmental blueprints. An eight-year NBA veteran who taught him how to act professionally.


Trent’s father, who played for the Raptors for the second half of the 1997–98 season, said of him:


“He instilled in me early on what it’s gonna take.”. “No matter what is happening, no matter how things are going up or down, no matter whether you are enjoying it or not, angry or sad, enjoy it. You are an NBA player. You exist in your dreams. For your position, many people will kill.”

Trent, who is only a few days shy of turning 24 years old, is displaying precisely the abilities the Raptors want to see in their next shooting guard. He is a capable goal scorer who can create his own shot and a willing listener who can play his part, take direction, and grow. This league values those kinds of players. Both the Raptors and the rest of the NBA are aware of it.

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