PORTLAND, Pray. – Now we know where Gary Trent Jr. got the sartorial style that makes him a standout locker room on this Raptors roster.
As an untested NBA youth, much more of a prospect than a player, Trent perfected his style of clothing here in the Pacific Northwest while diligently working on his game.
“When I first came here, I wasn’t playing right away,” Trent said Monday morning before the Raptors held their game-day target practice at the Moda Center.
“(It was) just hard work, running a lot on treadmills and wearing suits.
“I didn’t even have my warm-up many of those days.”
But as he developed that sense of style, he would certainly be in the running for the “Best Dressed Raptor” these days, Trent also developed a work ethic and an understanding of why that work ethic is so vital.
It made him a valuable piece on the Raptors roster and the owner of a lucrative three-year, $ 54 million contract (US).
“There is an appreciation for the work you put in, an appreciation for the process, you see how everything is completed,” he said.
“Take the good with the bad.”
Sitting on the sidelines of the court where it all happened, the first time he’s returned to Portland since the Trail Blazers traded him and Rodney Hood to Toronto for Norm Powell, Trent is rightfully proud of how he has become.
“(You learn) that you have to have a certain mental toughness and a certain thought process and a certain way of thinking about certain things,” said the 22-year-old.
“Obviously, you’re playing your whole life and you get to a situation where you’re literally in a suit, you’re not even in uniform, you know? It’s crazy how everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s story is different.
“Now I talk to some guys, rookies and young players, like ‘everyone is lucky that they even put the uniform on.’ He didn’t even have that. Just little things like that. “
What Trent has now is a huge responsibility in a team that imagines itself at the top echelon of the Eastern Conference.
He is a starter, one of the best shooters and pure scorers on the team, and one of its basic elements. Of the five starting Raptors regulars, he and OG Anunoby are the only two who haven’t missed a game even this early in the season and with that comes a varied responsibility.
“Always having to be ready, on his p’s and q’s, knowing what his teammates need him to do,” Trent said of his ever-changing role from game to game.
“If (Pascal Siakam is) out, he might need to bounce more. If Freddie (VanVleet) is out, he might need to do more with the ball and help the guys get going, that sort of thing. It just depends on the situation and the setting. “
It will take a while to figure out which team “won” the Toronto-Portland trade, and much of it will come from what Trent gives the Raptors in the three years of his contract and what Powell gives the Blazers over the next five years. . There are similarities in their games offensively and differences on the defensive end now, where Trent is making a big impact with the Raptors.
Each team seems to have gotten what they want (Hood was a contractual throw-in to make the money work) and each is looking for a longer term.
For Trent, that is continuing the growth process that began when he saw, well dressed, early in his career.
“You don’t want to be pigeonholed. You don’t just want to do one thing, ”he said. “You want to do everything for your team.
“The more you can do, the better you and your team will be.
“Coming in as a rookie, as a second-round pick, I learned to work. I learned the basics of how to be a professional here, I always had a certain foundation, certain thoughts on certain things that I was taught while growing up. When you get here first hand, you can really see it. “
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