The Toronto Raptors knew they were getting a young, serviceable player in Gary Trent Jr. as part of that Norman Powell trade with the Portland Trail Blazers at the deadline. But perhaps even the Raptors brass couldn't have anticipated just how good he'd become for the team.
The former second-round pick has only played nine games for the Raptors so far but has already re-set his career-high in points twice in that span. His most recent explosion came against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, erupting for 44 points on a spectacular 17-for-19 shooting from the field and 7-for-9 from downtown. The 22-year-old swingman added seven boards, four assists, and one steal in 33 quality minutes of action.
While the 40-piece is quite the feat in itself, the fact that Trent accomplished it with such efficiency is truly something else. He joins the likes of Jerry West and Mike Woodson as the only three players to record 44 or more points while shooting above 88 percent from the field, per Joseph Casciaro of The Score.
44+ points scored on 89+% shooting in NBA history:
Jerry West: Jan. 25, 1967
Mike Woodson: Feb. 20, 1983
Gary Trent Jr.: April 10, 2021
— Joseph Casciaro (@JosephCasciaro) April 11, 2021
Most of those points were also built from long-range bombs, making Trent's achievement for Toronto even more impressive. His 89.5 percent success rate from the field marks the second-highest field goal percentage for any player who scored 44 or more, behind Woodson in 1983.
Gary Trent Jr.’s 89.5 FG% tonight marks the 2nd highest field goal percentage for any player with 44+ points in a game during the shot clock era (1954-55), trailing only Mike Woodson (48 PTS on 91.7 FG%) in 1983. pic.twitter.com/iToue4Os00
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) April 11, 2021
After a one-and-done stint with the Blue Devils in college, Trent's name wasn't exactly a hot commodity in the 2018 Draft. He was passed over 36 times before Portland picked him up with the 37th pick. While the Blazers would have loved to keep him around, they knew he'll command big bucks in the offseason and wanted to milk his worth while they still can, hence the trade to the Raptors.
Toronto, meanwhile, should take a hard good look at possibly re-signing Trent for the long run if he continues to shoot the lights out for the rest of the season.