For all her enthusiasm and versatility, all the hype and all the obvious potential, the most refreshing thing about Scottie Barnes is that she knows she doesn’t have almost all the answers.
The Raptors rookie, who became the seventh player in franchise history to start his first game with the franchise, has come to understand that success in the NBA is about work and talent and combining the two all. the nights.
“One thing I noticed, the players in this league are really good,” said Barnes, who started on Wednesday when the Raptors opened the season with a 98-83 loss to the Washington Wizards at Scotiabank Arena. “Everyone can take shots, you have to execute the game plan in the best way and you cannot take off the plays.”
If Barnes didn’t quite believe that before making his NBA debut, he certainly will after a rather dubious performance to an announced crowd of 19,800 for Toronto’s first regular-season game in 600 days.
Barnes didn’t make a brilliant debut, but neither did a young team touted as one that would use its length, athleticism and versatility to carry it.
The eight-foot rookie had five turnovers and four fouls in his first 20 minutes. But he had a couple of good passes without looking at the transition, hitting a left-handed hook shot for his first NBA basket and equaling Fred VanVleet with 12 points, a team-high. But Barnes and the rest of the team watched out for most of the night.
“It wasn’t just there, it was happening (everywhere),” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after the game. “You will find out where some of those plays are. He made some really good passes, he made a couple that wasn’t that good either.
“(We) will keep the ball in our hands, I think he is a creator of the game, I have to make him a little more aggressive to come in and use his size at the rim and finish them off. You have to finish off some of the ones you thought were being attacked. You have to write them down. “
It’s impossible to say for sure if he and the Raptors got caught up in the excitement and excitement of the night, but the staff tried to fill minds with basketball-specific instructions so that the feeling of the moment wasn’t overwhelming.
“It seemed to me that we weren’t fully engaged and … it was probably quite an important moment,” Nurse said. “You’re playing some seasoned guys who know how to play, they’re playing well on top of that and a bunch of new guys (Raptors) wonder where they are out there and running and stuff.
“We will make some progress and improve.”
Although it is early. It was a regular season game, not very good, but that will happen many times over the course of 82 games, and there is no question about Barnes’ overall talent. It’s about dealing with the speed of real NBA games, the talent of the guys you’re defending and protected by will improve over time.
“He has incredible feet, having that size and being able to roll over, pick up a point guard coming up the court or chase two guards coming out of things, that’s where his specialty really comes in on that side of the court.” . Said the nurse. “He has ways of doing things schematically and things like that. There are some, let’s say, learning moments that we could have, for sure. “
Barnes joined a select company Wednesday. Just six rookies before Barnes started the first game of his first season with Toronto: Damon Stoudamire, 1995; Vince Carter, 1999; Joey Graham, 2005; DeMar DeRozan, 2009; Jonas Valanciunas, 2012 and Pascal Siakam, 2016.
Nor was it a one-time deal. As long as Barnes defends, and was good on that side of the ball against the Wizards, he’s going to play. Much.
“You asked me when we first got (Barnes) what would define a good season, and I said reps,” Nurse said. “We will do reruns every night. He wants to protect those guys too … That’s pretty good. It’s quite comfortable. “
Barnes won his starting role in part due to a strong offensive preseason in which he led the Raptors in assists (5.6 per game) and minutes (26.3 per game) while shooting 47 percent from the floor.
That didn’t translate into a game that mattered to him or the rest of the team. The Raptors shot less than 35 percent from the field (Anunoby missed 11 of his first 12 shots) and a spirited fourth quarter failed to fully recover them.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION