The Toronto Raptors were one of the more active teams at this season's trade deadline.
While they decided to hold onto Kyle Lowry at the eleventh hour, the Raptors made three different moves, the biggest of which saw them acquire Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood from the Portland Trail Blazers for Norman Powell.
As I wrote at the time, Trent was the bigger draw for the Raptors because of his potential to be a solid replacement for Powell down the road. The 22-year-old has since played in five games. The Raptors went only 1-4 in those games, but Trent has fit in like a glove with his new team.
Following Friday's historic win over the Golden State Warriors, Trent is averaging 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game in a Raptors uniform, all of which would be the highest marks of his career. He's been efficient, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from 3-point range.
Trent shooting as well as he is from the perimeter is particularly impressive considering just over half (51.4 percent) of his field goal attempts with the Raptors have been 3s.
His comfort shooting off the catch - Trent is 11-for-20 on catch-and-shoot 3s through five games with the Raptors - has helped him hit the ground running with Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, giving the three of them another shooter they can kick out to on drives to the basket.
It helps that Trent is a big target on the wing, standing at 6-foot-5 and sporting a 6-foot-9 wingspan.
Trent can also shoot on the move.
According to NBA.com, Trent has scored 18 points off of screens with the Raptors. That might not sound like much but it's already one of the highest marks on the team, putting him behind Powell (68), VanVleet (64), Lowry (44) and Terence Davis (21) on the season.
With two of Toronto's leading scorers off of screens no longer being on the team in Powell and Davis, Trent is best suited to fill that void.
Not only is Trent a threat to score from 3-point range and midrange in those situations...
...he's a smart cutter.
The Phoenix Suns are expecting Trent to run off of a screen from OG Anunoby on this possession, so he uses VanVleet's screen instead to sneak his way to the basket for a layup:
Last but not least, Trent can shoot off the dribble.
He's only 5-for-15 on pull-up 3s since the trade, but Trent was an effective 3-point shooter off the dribble both last season and this season with the Blazers.
His size helps him get his shot off over defenders and he has some tricks in his bag.
The combination makes Trent a versatile 3-point shooter. Teams can't leave him on the 3-point line to load up on Lowry, VanVleet or Siakam - there were a couple of plays from Friday's win over Golden State in which Trent's gravity as a 3-point shooter created openings for others - and he's someone the Raptors can run plays for. That alone makes him a valuable addition to the Raptors.
What will be interesting to see the rest of this season and beyond is how much more Trent can add to his game.
Trent is comfortable scoring from midrange, which comes in handy when he's forced to make a play for himself with the shot clock winding down and gives him the ability to run the occasional pick-and-roll, but he doesn't get to the basket much and has never been a particularly efficient finisher when he gets there. It's where the Raptors could feel the loss of Powell the most, as he developed into one of the team's better drivers.
Trent can at least get out in transition. He likes to sprint to the 3-point line, but he's had some nice finishes around the basket.
Trent will likely make up for his limitations on offence with his effort on the other of the court. He has the size to guard multiple positions, as well as the toughness to fit into Toronto's aggressive scheme. Time will tell how Lowry factors into Toronto's future plans, but VanVleet, Siakam, Anunoby and Trent make for a versatile core that should be able to hang with almost anyone defensively.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse likes what he has seen from Trent defensively so far, even if he's not quite where he needs to be.
"He's got a ways to go defensively," Nurse said of Trent. "Not physically or want to or any of that stuff. [He's] just got to learn a little bit more the way we want to play it. But he's got great on-ball toughness and feet, and that's the hardest part. We can teach him to get him some reps and all the other help issues and other schemes that we're doing."
It's only been five games, but Trent's value to this team is already crystal clear.
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