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Phoenix Suns NBA Draft Series: Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

Could this be the next shooting guard for the Suns?
Could this be the next shooting guard for the Suns?

Ever since Jason Richardson was traded to Orlando (for C Marcin Gortat, basically), the Phoenix Suns have struggled to get big-time points and defense out of the shooting guard position. Vince Carter, Mikael Pietrus, Michael Redd, Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley have all played the SG position in the past 18 months with varying - but generally pedestrian - results.

The Suns need some new, young blood that can play smart, score in bunches and play enough defense to stay on the court in crunch time. It's difficult to excel as a team in the last few minutes of the game when you're mixing and matching on the perimeter, having to choose between offense, defense and "smarts". Lacking badly in the offensive area, Gentry would generally fall back on intelligent players who would play a modicum of defense and not give the game away on a stupid play. That often ruled out Carter, Pietrus, Brown and Redd, leaving Dudley (with Grant Hill at SF) as Gentry's best late-game option at SG.

No knock against Dudley, but pairing him with Grant Hill in the closing moments left it up to Steve Nash to create 90% of the quality shots in the final 5 minutes, with Hill doing the other 10%.That's fine, except that Nash and Hill together are older than my great grandmother and are running on fumes by that time of the game. Dudley is not a shot-creator. At best, he's a shot-maker off a designed play to get him open for a 3-ball.

It's no wonder that the Suns brass is targeting a shooting guard (SG) in this draft, and lucky for them there are several quality candidates to choose from.

One of those is Terrence Ross, a prototypically-built 6'7", 197 lb guard with a sweet shooting stroke who can play strong defense. When I watch him play and look at his stats, NBA players that come to mind are Eddie Jones and Wesley Person, both of whom played a decade ago but might be remembered well by longtime Suns fans. A modern-day version of Ross might be Nick Young, late of the Clippers.

Hit the jump for more details on Ross, as well as some video.

Terrence Ross is a high-quality prospect at the shooting guard position.

He profiles as a better NBA prospect than Jimmer Fredette (picked 10th last year), Klay Thomspon (picked 11th) and Alec Burks (picked 12th), but is mired in a daily battle for prospect surpremacy this year against fellow shooting guards Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters and Austin Rivers. All tolled, Ross could drop out of the lottery altogether and become another team's "steal".

What does Ross do well?

  1. Ross has a great shooting stroke, and the height (6'7") to always get the jump shot off
  2. He is an active defender, averaging more rebounds + steals + blocks than most any prospect at his position in the nation
  3. He defends very well, allowing a very low conversion percentage on isolation defense

Those are three very important skills for the NBA, ones that will keep him employed for many years.

So what's wrong with him?, you ask.

  1. Ross rarely creates any baskets at the rim. When he dribble-drives, it's almost always to create space for a step-back jump shot or a floater. He's much better curling off screens or spacing himself for an open shot on the perimeter.
  2. Ross rarely passes the ball, averaging fewer assists per game than almost anyone in the nation at his position. He's a shooter, and that's what he expects when he's given the ball.
  3. Ross is not an "alpha". He won't take over a game. And someone has to get him the ball on every possession. In short, he won't start a possession but you can be sure he will always finish it (with a jump shot).


If you want a shot-maker who can defend (and Jeremy Lamb is already off the board), then you take Terrence Ross and never look back. He will be a Nick Young/Eddie Jones/Wesley Person player for a decade.

But if you want a shot-creator, someone who can take over a game and score against anybody from anywhere on the court, including at the rim, then Ross is not your guy. He will always need the playmaker to get him the ball.

Preview at Valley of the Suns, where Mike Schmitz loves him some Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross profile |

Ross' combine interview:

Ross' highlight mix:

What say you, Suns fans?

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