The Toronto Raptors are finally ready to play basketball in Canada after over a year away from their home. While the regular season doesn’t get kicked off until October 20, fans will be treated to a very intriguing preseason opener against a Philadelphia 76ers team that is eyeing a spot in the Finals.
The Raptors might be a bit thin in the frontcourt, as Khem Birch, Pascal Siakam, and Chris Boucher are all not going to play in this game. That shouldn’t totally damper the enthusiasm for this new season, as the unveiling of the positionless squad is still scheduled for tonight’s game.
Toronto has tons of new faces wandering around and plenty of young players eager to show the coaching staff, front office, and fanbase that they should be an integral part of the squad this season. They’ll get their first chance to strut their stuff in a pair of exhibitions against Philadelphia.
With the start of the season drawing near, here are 3 things that Raptors fans should be looking at in their first preseason game. The result of the game is insignificant, but these three trends could be worth watching.
3 things for Toronto Raptors fans to look for in the preseason opener
3. Scottie Barnes looking aggressive
The Raptors made the investment in Scottie Barnes with the expectation that he would become an above-average defender right out of the game and a promising offensive player as the years rolled along. We’ll finally get a brief snapshot of how much his offensive game has improved.
Barnes needs to focus on two key areas in this game. In addition to showing that he is willing to shoot from the perimeter in defiance of all the pre-draft haters, he must flex his muscles as a driver and finisher inside. Barnes handling the ball and taking it to the rim frequently would be a near-perfect situation for all parties.
Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes needs to show off his game.
Even if Barnes starts out as an inefficient player, the preseason is the time to make mistakes and cough up some poor shooting performances. As long as he is not playing passively on the offensive end and has that same energy that fans have come to love about him, that’s a win.
Conversely, if Barnes’ changes to his shooting form start to produce some solid efficiency percentages, fans should be absolutely thrilled with his performance. Nick Nurse has promised that Barnes will be given a ton of minutes to start his career, and we could find out in these tune-ups if he’s going to be a factor on offense.