Basketball

The Emergence of Gary Trent Jr

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In what was a heartbreaker trade for Toronto fans, something great came out of it: the emergence of Gary Trent Jr. The 6’5 guard has been nothing but a competitive force ever since he set foot in Toronto (well, Tampa). In less than a month with the Raptors, he’s already broken his career-high twice, nailed a buzzer-beater, and captured the hearts of every Toronto Raptors fan. How has his game impacted the Raptors and their record in the East? Let’s find out.

Pull-up Jumper

A big part of Gary Trent Jr’s game is his pull-up jumper. He uses his legs as a good base for getting shots up. It is a sigh of relief whenever the Raptors start to go through a bit of a shooting drought.

per NF Classic/YouTube

Even though the Raptors traded away an offensive boost in Norman Powell, they got back a solid shooter in Gary Trent Jr.

per Hooper Highlights/YouTube

In the game above, Trent Jr put up 24 points on 14 shots. He also set a record of +54 in this blowout win over the Warriors, the second-highest in NBA history.

A career high, twice?!?!

The emergence of Gary Trent Jr has not only benefitted the team, but his own statistics as well. Not only did he set a then career-high 31 points with the Raptors, but he smashed that record five games later, putting up 44 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His highlight reel alone is enough to get you excited for this young player.

per Hooper Highlights/YouTube

(You can see that jumper that we talked about earlier!)

He’s A Fun Guy

Raptors fans, where have you heard that before? Well, it seems like there is a new “fun guy” on this team.

Case study #1: The buzzer beater against Washington.

per NBA/YouTube

After watching several possible game-winners wiggle in and out this season and multiple one-point losses for the Toronto Raptors, a bucket finally went their way. The misery of losing games and the struggles that their players have and are going through with COVID-19 and lingering effects seemed to fade away at that moment. In a season as difficult and uncertain as this one, this was an important bonding moment for this team, especially with the new guy. It was a good reminder that these are the moments that are going to count this year.

Case study #2: His friendship with OG Anunoby.

“I’m sitting next to OG, we had a long conversation the whole flight about everything, you know, just our journeys, where we from, just to get a better understanding.”

-Gary Trent Jr
per Yahoo Sports Canada/YouTube

Creating a bond with some of the guys on the team already, specifically OG Anunoby, has certainly helped with team chemistry and spirits.

Young Guy

As good as Norman Powell was, the Raptors were able to get a younger player. This is a great fit with their developmental system, as the Raptors have a good history of developing their young players. At only 22 years old, they have a chance to re-sign him in the offseason and integrate him into their core pieces.

Toronto Mans

I joke, but he really has embraced the Toronto side of this team.

This is just “part of his drip,” and it’s made his introduction to this team and the fanbase all the easier. Overall, Gary Trent Jr is a great addition to Toronto and I’m sure that fans are excited to see how his role progresses with the team after this season.

In terms of this season, the Raptors currently sit at 11th in the Eastern Conference, and while it is unlikely that they make a playoff push now, Gary Trent Jr should still provide some hope for this team’s future. They beat the Brooklyn Nets again this week after defeating them earlier this season as well. The Raptors have strung together four wins in a row, and who knows, maybe they’ll make a push for that play-in spot. Regardless, GTJ is a guy to get excited about.

As always, make sure to follow Overtime Heroics on Twitter to stay up to date with NBA news and myself (@crinamm) for new articles!

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Crina Mustafa is a first year Sport Media student with an interest in producing social media content and sport journalism. She is a basketball and tennis writer, and also manages social media for places like Raptors Cage. Crina is currently a NBA writer for Overtime Heroics.