The trade that sent Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers and Gary Trent Jr. to the Toronto Raptors also sent the expensive contract of Rodney Hood, who has been struggling to recapture his old scoring touch, to Nick Nurse and company. Hood suffered a torn Achilles in Portland, and it turned a former double-digit scorer into a barely visible role player.
Hood holds career averages of 11.6 points per game, but his 4.9 points per game total this season is well beneath what he has done in the past. Hood has been somewhat better with the Raptors, scoring 5.6 points per game while making 37% of his shots and 33% of his 3-pointers.
Hood might not be back next year, as he has an eight-figure guarantee that looks much too pricy for a player with his production. However, given Toronto’s injury problems, Hood may get a chance to prove himself in a very specific role.
In addition to Kyle Lowry resting due to his foot problem and Fred VanVleet serving a one-game suspension, Trent is out due to a sore ankle, DeAndre’ Bembry is nursing his hamstring problem, and rookie Jalen Harris remains sidelines.
Hood will get some reps in the backcourt tonight. Playing that role well over the next few games could guarantee him a spot on the roster next year.
Toronto Raptors: Rodney Hood needs to show Nick Nurse he can play guard
Hood’s best attribute as a player was the fact that despite his 6-8 frame, he could handle the ball, get to the rim, and score consistently from basically anywhere on the court. With an Achilles injury often robbing players of speed and explosion, Hood is clearly lacking in both of those departments.
The Raptors have more two-way forwards than they know what to do with, but the lack of shooting off of the bench has really knee-capped them. Hood rediscovering his shot and ability to attack off of the dribble could be invaluable for Toronto.
Even if he never reaches double-digits again, scoring eight or nine points a game with solid efficiency could help a potential 2021-22 playoff team in Toronto decide on keeping him around. Nurse loves shooters, and Hood could qualify if he shows off his skill in the next few days.
Rediscovering that ability to light guys up from the perimeter is paramount in Hood rediscovering his value in the NBA. Showing he can move without the ball and handle the ball could make him more than just a spot-up shooter, which could help the Raptors decide to pick up his guaranteed money next season and make him one of their first choices off of the bench.