The Toronto Raptors took a significant risk when they signed Gary Trent Jr. to a three-year contract as he had just come off a season, part of which he spent with the Portland Trail Blazers, that saw his defense come under fire. Trent completely reinvented his game under Nick Nurse.
Trent is fresh averaging 18.3 points per game and is becoming the most reliable shooter on the team not named Fred VanVleet. Trent ranks at the top of the league in terms of steals per game and deflections per game and has been notable for his defensive transformation.
Another season of near-elite production will place Trent in a solid elite category among NBA shooting guards. Given his combination of youth, punching power, and two-way skills, Trent should be taken more seriously by the rest of the NBA after coming into the NBA as an anonymous second-rounder.
Indeed, if you look at all the shooting guards in the league, Trent emerges as one of the best options in the association. Where does the Duke product stand when all the starting off ball guards in the league are ranked against each other?
NBA Shooting Guards Rankings: Where Is Toronto Raptors SG Gary Trent Jr.?
Tier 7: Replacement Level/Unproven
30. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
29. Josh Primo, San Antonio Spurs
28.Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
27. Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
Picked 5th overall in the 2022 NBA draft, Ivey has a bright future ahead of him. We still can’t rank him above someone with pro experience. Allen is as average as they come from a production standpoint, although he could be a nice role player for Milwaukee.
Primo spent most of last year in San Antonio’s G-League system. If Gregg Popovich has worked his magic on Primo, he’ll be blasting this list in no time. Suggs got kicked in the rear a lot in his first season in the league with Orlando, but there’s potential worth unearthing for a Magic team that still relies on its potential.
Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. outperforms Evan Fournier and Lonnie Walker.
Tier 6: Useful if not inspiring
26. Lonnie Walker, Los Angeles Lakers
25. Kevin Hurter, Sacramento Kings
24. Evan Fournier, New York Knicks
23. Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Denver Nuggets
Walker might not be the highest-capped keeper LeBron James has ever played with, but he should be a viable option for the depth-needed Lakers this year. Huerter and Malik Monk joined Sacramento this year, but Huerter’s postseason experience with Atlanta could make him the Kings’ first pick.
While Knicks fans might balk at Fournier’s contract, you could certainly do worse for a quaternary goalscorer than for a veteran like the Frenchman. Caldwell-Pope has moved around a bit in recent years, but his ability to shoot from deep and play a passable defense pushes him up a few notches.