As a new season approaches for the Orlando Magic, Terrence Ross has found himself as the key veteran of this group. It seems like a long time ago now, but Ross was actually traded to the Magic for Serge Ibaka, who would go on to win a championship with the Toronto Raptors once he got there.
Ross went on a different path. One that saw him at his most comfortable coming off the bench as a flamethrower for a group that was built around Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. Those days are gone now, and instead, the Magic are looking to build something even better with Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz.
The Orlando Magic have a young core led by the veteran Terrence Ross, a player who continues to be underrated by fans and media members alike.
The reason this is being brought up again is because of what Ross himself tweeted out recently. A 78 rating in the latest NBA 2K game for this coming year. Come on now. Ross is absolutely a better player than that and has shown through the years that is able to help a team in all manner of different ways.
We know the only reason he is overlooked as often as he has been is that he plays for the Magic at a time when they have struggled to be relevant on the national stage. Even when they were making the playoffs and having game one wins over much better opponents, the hype around the organization was short-lived.
That isn’t going to change this coming season, and in fact, is only going to get worse as the Magic will once again find themselves drafting in the lottery when it is all said and done. But as long as Ross is on the roster, he is going to continue to be a player who can score the basketball in ways that nobody else within this group can.
His ability to move without the ball and come off screens, as well as slipping away from his defender to get open for a split second, is elite. It is the kind of skill that all contenders love to have, and will probably be the reason he is traded at some point in the growth of this franchise. His talents are too valuable to better teams looking for any edge that they can get, and this will be noticed before long.
There’s a reason that Seth Curry and JJ Redick continue to get opportunities with playoff teams, and will do so for the rest of their careers. Ross possesses a lot of the same skills. Having somebody who can score and is perfectly happy moving without the ball and not having plays drawn up for them where they do any handling at all, is a rarity in a league where everybody wants theirs.
But until somebody else comes looking for Ross, then his role with this group of young Orlando Magic players will be just as important. It is one thing to look at an older player and simply label them a “veteran” and “somebody who can mentor the younger guys”. Ross puts that into practice off the court in a whole host of ways.
He is active on social media, and through his own podcast and streaming of video games interacts with teammates and fans alike. He was also quick to get on the NBA Topshot train when that became a thing and would go live with the likes of Anthony and Michael Carter-Williams when new packs dropped.
If Ross is doing these kinds of things that the public is aware of, and which they can also interact with, then just imagine the kind of positive influence he is behind the scenes. A player who knows what it is like to be traded, to move countries and to have to play through seasons where there is a lot more losing than winning.
But on the other hand, has some experiences of the postseason and what it takes to get there as well. Robin Lopez may have been brought in to fill a similar role on this roster, but in Ross, the Magic had a player who could relate to the young guys and still give his all on the court already.
What will be best for both team and player in the future is if Ross is traded to an organization with a better chance of winning now. Even then he will be helpful, as you can be sure the Orlando Magic would get something of value back for his services. That 3-point shooting and willingness to come off the bench is not easily found in the league. A 78 overall? Here’s hoping the 2K can get it right when next year’s game is released.