"Really just staying ready."
Those words have a different feel coming from Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Gary Trent Jr.
"Staying ready" is a sentiment that Trent Jr. shared with the local media Friday during Portland’s first week of training camp.
It’s a sentiment that he proved to hold to the highest standard last season.
The Trail Blazers 6'5" guard is the epitome of making the most of one’s opportunity.
Last season, in just his second year in the league, Trent Jr. set out to earn meaningful minutes.
And boy did he achieve that goal.
But he didn’t just see more time on the court; he turned his meaningful minutes into some of the most impactful minutes of the second unit.
He was fearless on both ends of the floor, proving he can defend opposing team’s best players and then some.
Now as Trent Jr. begins individual workouts at the Trail Blazers practice facility this week, the 21-year-old is looking to take yet another big leap in his development.
And it all starts with putting in the work.
Every team needs a spark plug and a workhorse off the bench.
Trent Jr. has become that guy for Portland.
Last season, he averaged 8.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 21.8 minutes per game.
He was also talked about as a breakout player of the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida.
During his 76 career games played, Trent Jr. has averaged 7.6 points on 43.2 percent shooting and 40.5 percent from three.
So where does Trent Jr. go from here after having such a successful second season in the league?
He’s putting the time and effort in to become a more polished player.
Trent Jr. explained exactly what that entails during his Zoom call Friday -- and it involves quite a lot as one would expect.
“No weakness in their games,” Trent Jr. added.
As Trent Jr. works to eliminate weaknesses in his game, there’s no reason to expect that he will take his foot off the gas pedal. His bulldog mentality on defense is here to stay and now we can see him work his offense with Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter in the second unit.
Just as Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey pointed out last week, Trent Jr. will continue to build off of last year.
"He became the default sixth man to a degree and I expect him to build off that this year," Olshey said. "He’s probably one of the hot names coming out of the Bubble… The biggest thing for Gary was his energy and commitment he made on the defensive end."
And to think, just cracking the rotation was Trent Jr.'s offseason goal last summer.