Gary Trent Jr. showing tangible growth as a scorer
While much of the attention surrounding Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. has related to his stunning defensive improvements, he is still going to be trusted to consistently give this team an injection of youth, shooting, and tenacity. Based on how this season has gone, Masai Ujiri has to be thrilled with his production.
Trent, who signed a three-year contract worth just under $52 million in the offseason, is making his mark as a scorer. His 17.1 points per game average so far this season would be the highest of his career, and his 43% success rate from the field shows that he’s making shots at a much better rate than he did during his time with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Over the last seven games before what was a dominant team win against the Kings, Trent has stepped on the gas, as he was averaging 19.6 points per game in that span. Trent managed to tally 23 points on 8-17 shooting and 5-11 from 3-point range in a game that showed how he is starting to take the next step offensively.
While he was brought to Toronto due to his ability to nail 3-point shots, Trent is starting to show that he can knock down mid-range looks and create for himself. Still just 22 years old, Trent has a ton of good basketball in his future,
The Toronto Raptors are seeing Gary Trent Jr. evolve on offense.
While the league average for mid-range jumpers tends to hover around 40%, Trent is already hitting over 50% of his shots in certain areas. In Portland, Trent attempted more 3-pointers than shots inside the arc. While he’s still firing up seven attempts per game from deep in Toronto, he’s pairing that with a lethal interior game the Raptors have been leaning on.
Never someone lacking in confidence, Trent had to spend most of his Portland career playing limited minutes behind two elite scorers in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Toronto has been very open with how they want to let Trent cut it loose as much as possible, and the result has helped this offense continue to improve despite a flurry of injuries.
Trent’s contract is starting to look like a bargain. Considering the strides he has made on both ends of the floor and some of the disappointing seasons from free agent guards in that same class, Toronto has to like what they’ve seen from the former Duke sensation.
This roster is not filled with tons of knockdown 3-point shooters, but as long as Trent continues to play the way he’s been playing, they should be able to keep pace with most teams in the league.