A week ago today Suns GM Lance Blanks stood in front of the Phoenix media and spoke about the team’s need to inject youth into an aging perimeter.
Blanks described the Suns’ ideal solution: a guard who can create and make shots, get out in transition, and defend the perimeter. Of all the players expected to be available at No. 13, few prospects fit that bill better than former Washington guard Terrence Ross.
The 21-year-old 6-foot-7, 197-pound swingman gets after it on defense, can shoot it from distance and create his own shot off the dribble while thriving in an up-tempo style — Washington plays at a Suns-like pace.
He’s exactly what Blanks and the Suns are looking for on the perimeter and given his current stock he might be one of the most likely candidates to end up in purple and orange next season.
Since stepping foot in Seattle to play for head coach Lorenzo Romar as a four-star recruit who spurned Kansas and Kentucky for Washington, Ross has been electric. He only played 17.4 minutes per game as a freshman but showed flashes of superstar potential with his sweet shooting stroke and athletic ability.
After averaging 8.0 points per game as a freshman Ross turned the corner as a sophomore, grabbing hold of the role as UW’s No. 1 option to eventually turn in what Romar described as a “Player of the Year in conference type of year — an All-American type season.”
Ross finished the year averaging 16.4 points per game, good for fourth in the Pac-12, and also established himself as one of the better rebounding guards in the conference with 6.4 caroms per contest. In two short seasons at Washington the Portland, Ore., native developed into one of the most productive swingmen in the country.
“Terrence grew a lot from his freshman to sophomore year,” Romar said. “He became a much better defender, he was better with his shot selection. He took games over at times as a freshman but he did it more so as a sophomore.”
Ross is the prototypical NBA shooting guard at 6-foot-7 and has a skill-set that projects extremely well at the next level. He doesn’t get to the line or finish all that well at the hoop, but Ross has a really solid mid-range game, does a great job creating space off the dribble, and can catch fire from three. Add in that he’s an explosive athlete and it’s hard to imagine him struggling to score down the road in the NBA.
“Terrence’s athleticism and his ability to get his own shot is a unique skill that he has,” Romar said. “He also has a great release. It’s just a smooth, feathery touch. He’s always on balance when he shoots it.”
While the Suns could very well snatch up a point guard depending on who’s available, they’ve expressed their interest in an athletic, scoring wing, and given Ross’s proven success in a high-paced system, he makes a lot of sense for Phoenix.
“We play up-tempo here,” Romar said. “We recruited him because he was an up-tempo type player. I think he could play in any system but an up-tempo system is something he’d love to play in.”