NBA Draft 2012: Why Washington's Terrence Ross Is a Top-10 Prospect

Max MinskerCorrespondent IJune 24, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27:  Terrence Ross #31 of the Washington Huskies blocks the shot by Andre Hollins #1 of the Minnesota Golden Golphers in the second half during the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA NIT Men's Basketball Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 27, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)
Jason Szenes/Getty Images

With the NBA draft just a few days away, many teams are focusing in on their evaluations and making final decisions on prospects. Individual workouts are intensifying, and rumors are swirling. 

At this point in the draft process, we know with relative certainty what kind of range each player has. Remaining interviews and team workouts will have a role in who a specific team will take, but for the most part, the talent has been judged. 

Most draft authorities project Terrence Ross in the late lottery to mid-first round, but I feel that he fits in at the bottom of the top 10. Give me a chance to explain myself. 

Ross is a prototypical shooting guard prospect. He has adequate size, athleticism and shooting ability to be an exceptionally well-rounded player. His set of skills could allow him to become one of the game's most versatile 2 guards. 

In his first year at Washington, Ross was used primarily off the bench as a role player. However, in his sophomore year he blossomed into one of the Pac-12's best players, being named First Team All-Conference.

His impressive numbers (16-6-1.4, 1.3 STLS, 1 BLK, 46-77-37 percentages) were good enough for Ross to lead the team in scoring, accumulate the third-most assists and finish second is every other significant category except field goal percentage.

His field goal percentage wasn't great, but considering about 40 percent of his attempts were from beyond the arc, it's understandable. Ross took a high volume of threes—5.5 a game—shooting a respectable 37 percent. Ross has excellent range on his jumper, and should score easily from the perimeter in the NBA given time.

One thing that excites me about Ross's potential is the vast increase in production from freshman to sophomore year. He doubled his production in nearly every important statistical category and improved all of his shooting percentages. There is no doubt his game is evolving rapidly.

Even though Ross had a great year at Washington playing in their up-tempo offense, I would argue he could have played better on a team with a true point guard, rather than the ball-stopping Tony Wroten.

Nothing against Wroten, but he's more of a scorer than a distributor, and if Ross had played with an elite point guard more capable of setting him up with open looks and putting him in position to score, it could be argued that his statistics could have been even more impressive. 

Although Ross may not have what it takes to be a superstar in the NBA, he has every possible tool to be a very successful shooting guard.

The important thing to understand is that realistically, there are no holes in his game. He needs to work on his handling and decision making, but those are things that come with experience. In a league currently devoid of shooting guards, Ross has the potential to make a big impact at the next level. 

I think Ross is comparable to Atlanta's Joe Johnson. Both are fairly big for their position and have a wide array of skills. Ross needs to develop his ability to score off the dribble and work out some of the kinks in his game. If he can, maybe he won't have quite the impact of Johnson, but I think he can be that type player if he reaches his potential. 

Of the five elite shooting guards in the draft—Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb, Ausin Rivers and Ross—most are quick to put the low-profile Ross at the bottom of the pack. I believe that Ross comes in third, behind Beal and Waiters, both of whom I believe to be substantially better than the other three.

Ross may not be as NBA-ready as the other players, but given time he should emerge as a quality shooting guard. I see nothing holding him back. He may not have star potential, but he doesn't have a lot of bust potential either.

He has to be considered one of the safer options in the bottom half of this year's lottery, and for that reason, he should fit nicely at the bottom of the top 10.