The Toronto Raptors returned to Scotiabank Arena for the first time in almost two years, and they punctuated an emotional night by handling the rival Philadelphia 76ers. This would’ve been impossible without some standout performances from some of the prospective bench players.
While Scottie Barnes stole the show, and OG Anunoby helped lead the Raptors on offense with a verifiable virtuoso performance, the second unit is what helped push the squad over the top, as their hustle and effort on the defensive end if what helped turn Toronto into an impossible puzzle to solve.
The preseason is a time for players that have something to prove to strut their stuff, and the Raptors have to be pleased with what some of the players at the back end of the roster have done in their first minutes of 2021 action. Will that continue over the course of their exhibition schedule.
With four more preseason games, two of which come against division rivals, these 3 Toronto Raptors have the most to gain on the court. Depending on your perspective, they may also have the most to lose if they start to struggle.
3 Toronto Raptors with the most to gain in the preseason.
3. Dalano Banton
Rexdale’s finest, the Nebraska alum came into the NBA with questions about his shooting ability and true position in the NBA. Based on what we saw last night, Banton could be a rock-solid point that can cause issues on defense and turn them into points on offense thanks to his speed.
Ujiri clearly put a premium on raw athletic ability in this draft, and Banton has immediately repaid the Raptors’ trust by scoring six points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out four assists, and blocking two shots. His ability to glide to the rim and impact the game in transition was a joy to watch.
Could Dalano Banton crack the Toronto Raptors rotation?
Banton will probably spend a good chunk of his first season with Raptors 905 if he continues to check all the boxes, but if he starts turning things around and dominating on offense, it wouldn’t be crazy to see him sneak into the rotation considering the style of play Toronto wants to lean on.
Banton will need to improve his jump shot, but that may not be enough to keep him out of the lineup if he shows to be an above-average defender in his first season in the NBA. With a few more standout performances, it will be almost impossible for Nurse to keep him out of the regular lineup.