Malachi Flynn scored 23 points, the highest on the team, and rookie Scottie Barnes had an impressive first experience of NBA action as the Toronto Raptors kicked off their 2021 Summer League campaign in Las Vegas with an 89-79 win. over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Spurred on by a strong defensive effort in the third quarter that saw the Raptors hold the Knicks to just 16 points and 27.8 percent shooting while forcing five turnovers, Toronto was able to take a seven-point lead into the final frame and keep it stable. along the.
The Raptors pulled a strong game off their entire roster, as five different players scored in double figures.
Before the game, it was announced that the newly acquired Precious Achiuwa Raptors would be added to the Toronto Summer League roster, but he did not play on Sunday.
Achiuwa joins the Raptors after playing for the Nigerian national team at the Tokyo Olympics. Yuta Watanabe also did not play for Toronto on Sunday. He was also coming from playing in the Olympics for host Japan.
However, the Raptors ultimately didn’t need Achiuwa or Watanabe, not with the way Flynn and Barnes played on Sunday.
Here are some takeaways from the Raptors’ Summer League win.
Looks like Scottie has the goods
The Raptors took on forward Barnes from the state of Florida at No. 4 in the draft just a couple of weeks ago, and while he was quickly gaining the affection of the fan base with his social media presence and contagiously positive attitude , not many people had seen him play.
All of that changed on Sunday and it looked pretty impressive.
Barnes made his Summer League debut with a line of 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists where he showed a bit of everything and demonstrably illustrated why the organization was so excited about him.
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 8, 2021
“You see his talent, right? He’s talented, he’s got a lot of potential, ”said Raptors Summer League coach Patrick Mutombo of Barnes. “I love his desire to win, I love his willingness to listen and also to say, ‘My bad’ or cheer on his teammates. There’s a lot of work to do with him, but the potential he has is exciting. “
That potential was on display for Barnes on Sunday.
He opened the game by winning the lead, but then missed his first three shots. Instead of bashing himself, however, Barnes pushed on and ended up punching a shot on the foul line after faking a pass with about a minute to spare in the first quarter.
This opened the floodgates, so to speak, for the rest of Barnes’s game as he seemed to make one standout game after another.
First, with about eight minutes left to play in the second quarter, he faced Knicks guard Luca Vildoza along the wing, extended his albatross wingspan, used his quick hands to push the fumble, and rushed to regain the ball. Fumble. as he threw himself to the ground, and then while on the ground, he was quickly able to recognize Matt Morgan running across the ground for an easy layup.
– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 8, 2021
An example of what Barnes’s length, fast hands, hustle and engine and advanced game-making skills will look like in the future, all in one sequence.
But it hadn’t ended there.
Later in the fourth, after showing off some of his post skills, Barnes confidently stopped from the top of the 3-point arc and hit a 3-pointer.
– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 8, 2021
This was an important moment for Barnes because there was a lot of consternation over his perimeter jumper. He ended up finishing game 1 of 4 from deep, but his shot certainly doesn’t look as bad as advertised during the pre-draft process.
This is likely because he always had a good enough point guard, and since joining the Raptors he has now had the advantages of a dedicated coaching staff who tweak things here and there with his shooting.
“The form is not bad at all, but we are definitely working on some things to make him a reliable three-point shooter for us,” Mutombo said.
Barnes himself added: “They made some small adjustments, some small changes, I moved to the right hand position. We are still doing a lot of different things to get it right. “
And finally, in case that pass behind Morgan wasn’t sufficient evidence of his immense potential as an offensive starter, check out this outing he made to Dalano Banton:
Scottie Barnes with the tasty left midfield pass to Dalano Banton #Toronto #Raptors | New York #Knicks#NBA #NBASummerLeague #NBASummer #WeTheNorth #NewYorkForever #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/RGyjPZemPQ
– BasketballBuzz.ca (@basketballbuzz) August 8, 2021
That’s Barnes, a player who dominates the right hand, grabbing the rebound, dribbling with his left hand and then throwing a pass dart with that left hand almost fills the court, right on the money for Banton for an easy dunk.
“I’d say I’ve been doing this pass and stuff. [for a while]Barnes said. “So I’d say it’s very natural for me to drop him and it was already in my left hand and he was already forward, so it was easier to kick him with my left hand. So it wasn’t really a very difficult thing. “
The fact that Barnes was so dismissive of a play that was so obviously remarkable speaks to the level of skill he has as a passer, and has to make one wonder what he would look like collecting defensive rebound and looking up the court at players like Pascal. Siakam and OG Anunoby seep ahead.
Altogether, it was quite a debut for Barnes. Of course, this was still the Summer League, but it certainly seemed like it belonged more to the NBA competition closest to its age group.
Flynnsanity could be back in effect
Due to the nature of how the final NBA season began, Flynn did not get a chance to get his feet wet with the Raptors in the Summer League game.
That, coupled with the strange circumstances of last season, overall, got Flynn off to a lukewarm start. But in his last 32 games, when he had more regular playing time, he really looked to ignite things, enjoying very solid performances in the last two games of the Raptors regular season, in particular.
On Sunday, Flynn looked like he had picked up where he left off when he scored 23 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting from the field, including a 4-for-5 performance from behind the arc that saw him look more confident shooting. from the depths of what was ever seen last season.
– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 8, 2021
“I think I feel more comfortable,” Flynn said. “Obviously, I had a full season unlike some of these other guys who just entered the Summer League for the first time, so I definitely felt more comfortable with the way the game is played, just trying to get better each time. more”.
Flynn had some pretty big moments near the end of last season for the Raptors, including showing that he’s something of a decisive shot maker of sorts. Hopefully this good Summer League opening performance is a sign of things to come for the rest of the Summer League and, more importantly, heading into next season.
Trent happy to be back with Raptors
The Raptors announced Sunday that they officially signed Barnes to his rookie ladder contract and signed Trent to a three-year, $ 54 million deal that the team agreed to during the moratorium period.
Trent spoke to members of the media during halftime of the Raptors Summer League game on Sunday and seemed relieved and happy to be back with the Raptors.
“I really wouldn’t say too many doubts, but, you know, it’s the NBA and it’s a business and free agency can go crazy and anything can happen,” Trent said. “So going into the process, I was just trying to get a feel for the process and enjoy the process and there was never really a moment in time where I thought about where it was going to end and whatever happens. But I’m glad the circle is complete and I’m back in Toronto and I’m excited. “
Trent came to the Raptors as part of the trade with the Portland Trail Blazers on the trade deadline last season that saw Norman Powell’s long stint with Toronto come to an end.
Trent was a restricted free agent, so the Raptors could have matched any offer that came his way to ensure he returned, but it’s pretty clear that he was a major off-season priority for the club, and for good reason.
It appears that Trent is one of the only players on the list who can reliably hit his own shot and score the stone. Last season, in 17 games with the Raptors, he averaged 16.2 points per contest and had some big moments, including a game winner and setting a franchise record of over / under with his over-54 while playing against the Golden State Warriors in the Raptors. record victory of 53 points in April.
Trent believes he has barely scratched the surface with the Raptors and is eager to show what he can do in more time with the team.
“Just the way the guys play, how they see each other, the coaching style, the defensive schemes,” Trent said of what he learned in the 17 games played for Toronto last season. “Last year when they traded me at the end of the year I was only able to get a tab and a little bit of what we do, but now after being here for a bit and having a full summer with the team, having a great training camp. I’m looking forward to a great start. “
Trent is only 22 years old, and given the apparent youth movement the Raptors seem to be in at the moment, it stands to reason that he could be a big part of their future plans, so his enthusiasm for his next steps with the team is an encouraging sign.