The Toronto Raptors gave fans their first glimpse as No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes during their Summer League stint in Las Vegas, and while they left with some concerns about how the offense is going to work and who will get playing time at the end of the bench, the organization has to be pleased with a lot of what they saw.
The Raptors went 4-1 in Summer League play, including wins against the Knicks, Nets, and Hornets. Barnes was obviously what everyone kept their eyes on, but he was far from the only Raptors prospect to turn in an impressive performance in this series of games.
Rookies like Dalano Banton and Justin Champanie turned in several solid games as they made their case for increased playing time. the Raptors proved to have one of the best defenses in the competition, perhaps a side-effect of Masai Ujiri’s philosophy of building a long-versatile team.
The rookies have been up-and-down, as rookies often are. On one hand, the hustle and defensive mastery are there, but the shooting appears to be lagging to a degree. How did each of the new Raptors draft picks fare?
Summer League Grades for Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors rookies.
PF Justin Champagnie
Champagnie was added as a two-way player seconds after the draft ended, so he counts for the purpose of this list. Why not?
While he wasn’t, for the most part, the double-double machine he was at Pitt, he did prove that he can get rebounds against NBA bodies, all while showcasing an improved shooting touch and willingness to cut it loose.
Champagnie knows that his first NBA minutes will come on the back of his hustle on both ends of the floor, and he provided plenty of that.
SG David Johnson
A motivated Johnson was the worst of the four 2021 draft additions, as he shot just 29 percent from the field before he was forced to sit some games out with an injury. Still, the defense looked sharp, and the Raptors can at least be satisfied with the fact he made some plays on offense and showed aggression.
SG Dalano Banton
Banton might’ve been the best defensive player the Raptors had on their roster, constantly making impact plays by creating turnovers and blocking shots despite the fact he was stuck on the perimeter for large chunks of the game.
Some poor efficiency on the offensive end prevented him from getting the highest possible marks, but Toronto should leave Vegas very pleased with Banton’s play.
SF Scottie Barnes
Barnes was expected to come out here and dominate, and he did exactly that by making plays in every facet of the game. He was third on the team in scoring and second in rebounds, while coming in first in blocks per game and assists per game. On defense, he shut down just about everyone who came his way.
The jury remains out on if he was a better pick than Jalen Suggs, but every Raptors fan should be absolutely thrilled with Barnes’ play on both ends. The vocal leadership was a nice touch.