Toronto Raptors

‘I’m leaving’ – Scottie Barnes explains why he wants to leave the Raptors

‘I’m leaving’ – Scottie Barnes explains why he wants to leave the Raptors…


Scottie Barnes on leaving Rap

As the clock wound down on a demoralizing loss to the lowly San Antonio Spurs, Scottie Barnes left the Toronto Raptors’ bench and headed to the locker room.

Barnes’s frustration was obvious after rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama had a triple-double to power San Antonio past Toronto 122-99 on Monday night. But leaving the courtside area with a few seconds left to play is considered poor form in basketball, especially for a player considered the future of the Raptors franchise and part of the team’s leadership core.

“It was a bad look,” said Barnes at practice the next day. “It was a mistake on my part.

bench early in loss to Spurs: ‘It was a bad look’


Raptors Explain Reason for Starting Lineup Change & How It’ll Impact Scottie Barnes

The Toronto Raptors shook up the starting lineup Wednesday night to get Scottie Barnes more involved as the team’s primary offensive facilitator

It was almost exactly a year ago that the Toronto Raptors decided to tweak their offense to help free up Scottie Barnes.

The beginning of the season hadn’t gone as planned for the then-sophomore forward and Toronto was looking to change Barnes’ usage. Both he and the team had struggled with Barnes as the team’s offensive initiator alongside Fred VanVleet and the Raptors decided it was time to make Barnes more of a small-ball center.

In the 20 games between New Year’s and the trade deadline when Toronto acquired Jakob Poeltl, Barnes began to take a tangible step forward. He started screening way more and took advantage of the space opposing bigs were giving him, reluctant to step out to the three-point line against Barnes who was essentially a non-shooter at the time.

A year later, Toronto has decided to make another change centered around Barnes. This time, the Raptors have moved the third-year guard back down the positional spectrum, once again giving him the reigns as the team’s lead point guard in place of Dennis Schröder who was moved to the bench Wednesday.

The change comes in stark contrast to how the Raptors began this year after the disappointment of last season. Toronto had been reluctant to let Barnes be the lone guard, afraid he wasn’t quite ready to take on point guard duties once again.

“He needs someone to help him,” Raptors coach Rajaković said three weeks ago when asked why Toronto hadn’t let Barnes play more as the team’s lone point guard. “I think he’s good at handling the ball in pick and rolls and making decisions and it’s definitely part of his development doing that more and more. I just think sometimes having another guy who is capable of bringing the ball, getting us set and organized is helpful.”

But Toronto’s lack of success with the old starting lineup forced the Raptors to shake things up.

“We decided that it was a good opportunity today to put Scottie Barnes as more of a ball handler and also we wanted to have Dennis to help more with the second unit,” Rajaković told reporters Wednesday.

The move, promoting Gary Trent Jr. from the sixth-man spot into the starting line, is about allowing Barnes to develop as a player while having Schröder stabilize the second unit as the team’s backup point guard, Rajaković said. By moving Schröder to the bench, Toronto no longer has to rely on Malachi Flynn as the team’s backup guard as the fourth-year point guard was evicted from the rotation against Washington.

The Raptors know Barnes isn’t a traditional point guard and there are going to be bumps in the road. He, for example, had the ball stripped at mid-court by Deni Avdija in a sloppy first-quarter turnover. That kind of mistake will certainly happen more often with Barnes than it did with Schröder, but that’s the price of development.

Michael Grange on X: "I asked Scottie Barnes how he would explain the NBA's  in-season tournament format to someone: “They could go on Google …”" / X

“I thought especially in the first half I thought that he did a good job of running our offense, getting guys organized, touching the paint, making extra passes,” Rajaković said of Barnes. “Obviously this is what have you processed, it’s gonna take some time for him, it’s gonna be a learning curve, him handling the ball more, calling offense, and then getting more comfortable there.”

This change is a sign of faith in the future. It’s a sign that Toronto believes in Barnes’ development as some sort of modern do-it-all basketball player who can seemingly play every position on the court.

“We believe in 4 at the point guard,” Gary Trent Jr. told reporters referring to Barnes. “We can see what he does with it. How he passes the ball. The movement, what he does with it, his growth, his development.”

At this point, Barnes’ development and finding out who fits around him is what this season should be all about. It was clear the old starting lineup with three below-average shooters on the court wasn’t working for Toronto and Barnes, and left the Raptors stuck with a sub-par bench.

Will this new lineup work?

It’s too early to say. But at the very least it’ll help Barnes’ development and reveal exactly who fits and who doesn’t around Toronto’s future star.


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