If the Philadelphia 76ers want a shooter, they should poach Terrence Ross

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

While Kyle Korver may make sense, if the Philadelphia 76ers are serious about adding a clutch shooter, they should try to poach Terrence Ross from the Orlando Magic.

In sports, for whatever reason, sometimes certain players rise to the occasion against certain teams.

While in theory, this shouldn’t be a thing barring a distinct advantage, say an undersized center vs. Joel Embiid, it seems like every time Philadelphia 76ers take on the Orlando Magic J.J. Redick has a big game. Maybe it’s because the Magic initially drafted Redick out of Duke with the 11th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, and then unceremoniously traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks the same season he was signed to a new contract, but over their first two matchups of the season, Redick has averaged 26.5 points and six 3-pointer a game, as the team’s leading scorer.

However, Redick isn’t the only player who seems to rise to the occasion when the Sixers and the Magic face off; so does Terrence Ross.

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For those unfamiliar with Ross outside of his almost identical 15 points and 3-5 3-point shooting percentage against Philly, the former University of Washington Huskie was initially drafted by the Toronto Raptors with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by everyone’s least favorite former GM Bryan Colangelo.

Over the better part of five seasons, Ross started about a third of the team’s games and never averaged more than 11 points, 1.2 steals, or an assist in a season. Sure, in 2013-14, Ross knocked down almost 40 percent of his five three-point shot attempts each game, but in 2016-17, he only knocked down 36 percent of his five three-point attempts a game, so it’s clear he’s far the model of consistency.

If he was a more consistent shooter, it’s entirely possible Ross could still be a Raptor, as opposed to wasting away on a lottery guaranteed team like the Magic.

With Toronto struggling in their frontcourt down the stretch in 2017, GM Masai Ujiri, a marked improvement over Colangelo, shipped Ross, and a first-round pick (ironically traded to Philly to select Anžejs Pasečņiks) to the Magic for stretch four big man Serge Ibaka in a last-ditch effort to unseat LeBron James from his rightful place representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

I wonder how that worked out?

While this looked like the end of Ross’ chance to be more than just a guy in the NBA, especially after a very, very down year in 2017-2018, marked by a career-low 32.3 percent shooting from 3 and an almost career low 8.7 point-per-game, somehow Ross has surged back into an above average bench scorer who could be in contention for a Sixth Man of the Year award if he was on a better team.

Could that team be the 76ers?

With Ross almost 20 games into the final year of a three-year, $33 million deal he signed back in Toronto two things are clear: Terrance Ross is going to get a new contract, and it’s probably not going to be from the Magic.

Regardless of how successful he’s been in the Magic Kingdom, I highly doubt Ross is going to want to spend the last few years of his prime on a team destined for an early April vacation. If the money is even close, Ross will likely be gone to a contender looking for an auxiliary wing, and the Magic will watch him walk for nothing; why not trade him and get some extra value before leaves for free?

At this point, it would be incredibly hard for the Magic not to play Ross, as he’s their fourth-leading scorer, but that too is a double-edged sword, as the team should instead be focused on developing young talent, and securing a Duke scorer atop the 2019 NBA Draft.

Right now, Ross is helping the Magic win games, which may actually be a problem.

While trading Ross wouldn’t bode particularly well for the Magic fan’s hopes of making a run at an Eastern Conference eight seed, a dream that’s albeit very, very ambitious to say the least, it could help to open up additional minutes for players like Wesley Iwundu, Jerian Grant, and Melvin Frazier moving forward.

Oh yeah, and it could make the 76ers much, much better.

Much like Marco Belinelli‘s addition last season, Ross could become ‘The Dude’ off the bench willing to make those crazy, acrobatic jump shots from all over the court, regardless of how it affects his shooting percentage. Right now, his 13.9 points per game would rank fourth on the team behind only Embiid, Redick, Ben Simmons, and recently traded for guard/forward Jimmy Butler.

And his 39.3 shooting percentage from 3 would be third on the team behind Wilson Chandler (10 shots) and a surprisingly effective Furkan Korkmaz.

Now granted, would Ross effectively fill Belinelli’s shoes a defensive liability on the wings? More or less, but with great defenders like Chandler, Butler, Embiid, Simmons, Jonah Bolden, and Amir Johnson peppered all over the roster, that’s a whole lot easier to cover up than it was last season.

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Should the Sixers trade a player like T.J. McConnell or recently acquired big man Justin Patton for Ross’ services? No way. But would the Magic entertain a package of multiple second rounds picks and maybe a stashed player like the aforementioned Anžejs Pasečņiks? That could be incredibly enticing for both parties, and allow the Philadelphia 76ers to do some serious damage with that 15th roster spot just like Elton Brand desires.