Casey on Ross: Bench role ‘good for him right now’

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey joined Prime Time Sports to discuss how the Raptors clawed their way to victory on Monday and his plans for Terrence Ross for the rest of the season.

The decision to have Terrence Ross come off the bench paid dividends for the Toronto Raptors in Monday’s night victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to the tune of 16 points and a multitude of clutch shots and smothering defence.

For now, it looks as if Ross will continue to come off the bench, but don’t expect this to be a permanent move.

“He wants to prove to the world that he is an NBA player and a starter in this league,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told Bob McCown and Arash Madani on Prime Time Sports Tuesday. “I’m not saying him coming off the bench is a permanent move but it’s something I think is good for him right now.”

As a result of the decision to have Ross come off the bench and Greivis Vasquez start, Casey’s rotation must be re-arranged and on Monday the odd-man out appeared to be James Johnson.

Casey says that while the team does want to focus more on Ross, there will be games when Johnson will return to his usual rotational minutes.

“James understood,” Casey said. “He understood the fact that it may be a situation where we want to work with Terrence and get him going and that the next night may be his night, so he just has to stay ready.”

On the topic of the Raptors' recent struggles and the team's labouring victory over the Bucks, Casey tried to see the positive in all that has transpired, and says what his team is going through will be for the better in the long-run.

“We’re finding out who’s playing hard, who’s competing,” Casey said. “And I think the adversity, if you take it the right way, can help solidify things, pull you together and you can learn from it.”

The fact Casey may be enjoying the animosity surrounding his team should come as no surprise; he’s preached the importance of working through tough times since the start of training camp.

As for Ross, the 23-year-old forward looked more comfortable on the court than he had in weeks. The decision to have him come off the bench appears to be a move intended to help Ross get his groove back, as Casey sees tremendous talent within him.

“Some guys it takes a little bit longer,” Casey said. “He’s a great kid, and I think the sky’s the limit for him and I think he’s going to come through.”