Coming with Gary Trent Jr. in the trade that saw Norman Powell make his way to the Portland Trail Blazers, Hood is looking for an opportunity to get his career back on track.
The seven-year veteran is in the midst of a career-worst campaign. He averages just 4.7 points per game and shoots 36.5% from field and 29.4% from depth, far from his career 11.7 points per game on 42.3% shooting from the ground and 36.8% from three points. .
However, there are good reasons for this marked drop.
Hood’s 2019-20 season ended prematurely and frighteningly as he suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in the first quarter of a Blazers loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on December 6. 2019.
What happened next was a grueling rehab after surgery that got him back in time for this season’s opener with Portland on December 23, 2020, but not with his game. from the beginning.
In the 38 games he’s managed to dress with Portland for this season, Hood suffered minor quad, thigh and ankle injuries while trying to regain his feel coming out of the torn Achilles. It’s been a tough season so far for him and getting traded is just another hurdle he now has to try to overcome, but he’s optimistic about it.
“Yeah, it’s been tough this year just trying to find my way around and be healthier. I haven’t had an offseason, ”Hood said after the Raptors practice Saturday afternoon. “Obviously it’s another springboard to be traded but I feel healthier, I feel like towards the end of the season I’ll be a little more to myself but I have to take time and this is the frustrating part. about it, but I’m glad to know where I’m going.
Hood, 28, owes just over $ 10 million this season, a figure that has helped keep wages in line for the Powell deal to work. He’s set to make around $ 10.8million next season, but that deal isn’t guaranteed, which means he’s a player the Raptors are looking at with virtually no risk.
The nature of Achilles injury Hood was returning from suggests he likely won’t return to the player he was until next season at the earliest, but there have been flashes of old Hood this season.
For example, on January 18, Hood scored 21 points on a 9 for 14 shot against the San Antonio Spurs and he had a two-game streak between February 2 and 4, where he scored 16 and 15 points each. , helping the Blazers win over the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards.
This kind of performance is more representative of the type of player Hood actually is. Before being forced to stay away the rest of the 2019-20 season, he averaged 11 points per game while shooting 50.6% from the ground and 49.3% from the away.
The Raptors are hoping to see more of the player Hood was to help them jump into the play-in tournament or beyond with the 27 games remaining.
“I don’t know what he will bring to our team. I kind of know what his game is and what I hope he can bring. Maybe we can bring him with him and stuff, ”Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “I think he’s a pretty smart player. It has a certain size, it can make buckets, both at the edge and at the three and a little in between. I think he has good athleticism and that looks good to me.
“I watched a ton of movies of him after I got him and that was one of the things everyone kept saying he wasn’t really the same since the Achilles and I didn’t notice any of that. He goes really high for the rebounds, looks like he moves well from side to side, I think even the medical aspect is very effective.
“So listen, I think he gives us a wing with some experience. He gives us a versatile player. He can keep, 1, 2, 3, 4, maybe, because he’s a certain size. It gives us a chance to change. I don’t know, I think he has some understanding of the game but I don’t want to say much because I only saw him for a game and a practice. I love his attitude and I love what he has shown so far.
This is actually the third time in Hood’s career that he’s been traded, having initially been drafted by Utah Jazz 23rd overall in 2014, then distributed to the Cleveland Cavaliers, then the Blazers and now the Raptors.
Despite its demand as a commercial target over the years, it was a little surprised that it was moved on Thursday.
“We were in Miami, I went through the walkthrough and everything, I didn’t really, really think about it, and then I would take a pre-game nap and for some reason I woke up and I had like 12 missed calls. and 20 messages – I was sleeping very heavy – [when] I found out, ”Hood said. “I spoke to General Manager Neil [Oshey] and he explained why. We just said how much we appreciate each other while we were there in Portland and I appreciate that they gave me an opportunity and then I had the opportunity to talk to everyone world. So it’s tough, I’ve been through it a few times, so it didn’t hit me that much, but it’s part of the game and I have a lot of respect for these guys.
But, hopefully for the Raptors, not too much respect as the two trading partners will see each other on Sunday.
“It’s, I guess, a little awkward, but I think it would be fun to see the guys again and I’m pretty sure they miss me more than they miss me,” Hood said jokingly playing so quickly. his former teammates. “But it will be cool.”
Sunday will be just another stop on what has been a long journey home for Hood. It is taking longer than he probably would like, but these are the cards that have been dealt to him and he is going to try to make the most of them.
“I think you get to the physical part, which is part of the process, but there is also the mental hurdle that you have to get over and that sometimes prevents you from doing everything because, you know, it’s trauma. when your body goes through certain things, ”he says. “So I think I’m getting over it. As we go forward, I will be more and more active and athletic and I will be more and more competitive and I think that will really pay more dividends for my game.
“But it’s just a process that I have to continue to follow and trust him. ”