Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the Toronto Raptors finally made their triumphant return to Scotiabank Arena against the Washington Wizards, but it took all of one quarter for the optimism to drain out of the building. Not only did Washington beat Toronto, but they did it in such a demoralizing fashion that it was genuinely shocking.
Toronto lost 98-83, as this team looked completely out of sync the entire night. They couldn’t get anything done from 3-point range, had trouble stopping some very simplistic offensive sets from Washington, and were turning the ball over on seemingly every other possession.
The Raptors might not be title contenders, but this team should still be in the thick of the hunt for the play-in tournament, and performing like that against a very beatable team was very disheartening. Very few players can hold their heads high after this one.
Were there any Toronto Raptors players that can say they played well in this game? Unfortunately, many of the team’s stars put forth some very disappointing showings and need to turn the page quickly.
Grading the Toronto Raptors after an awful loss to the Wizards.
VanVleet was tied for the team lead in scoring, but when 12 points are good enough to qualify as the best offensive player on a given night, something has gone horribly wrong. VanVleet needed to show he improved his efficiency as a scorer, and he responded by making just five of his 20 shots and one of his nine 3-point attempts.
VanVleet started the game off hot, but cooling off doesn’t even begin to describe what happened late in this contest. These shots will fall later on in the season, but this was a very tough showing in Game No. 1.
Box score scouts might not have a ton of positives for Barnes, as he scored 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and turned the ball over six times. However, Barnes looked like he could hold his own on the defensive end, and the lack of assists belie some of the impressive passes he made.
Scottie Barnes made some plays for the Toronto Raptors.
While he got burned by Bradley Beal a few times, especially on off-ball movements, that’s not outrageous for a rookie playing in his first game. Barnes showed enough of the positive traits we saw in the preseason to warrant an average grade here, but he can’t turn the ball over at that rate consistently.
Anunoby was as deadly on the defensive end as he usually is, and his 10 rebounds are nice, but after hearing about how he was supposed to take a huge leap forward in the offseason on offense, he had one of his worst games as a pro on that end.
Anunoby made just three of his 17 shots, and makes shots were a dunk when Toronto was down 17 in the second quarter and two 3-pointers long after the game had been decided in the fourth. Anunoby will surely bounce back, but this was an ugly stat line.
Achiuwa got the start over Khem Birch, but he did little to prove he should be in the lineup full-time. The preseason star played just 19 minutes, recording six points and seven rebounds while getting into foul trouble early with four violations.
Achiuwa showed off the bounce and ability to attack the rim that Toronto coveted when they added him in the offseason, but Birch had the more complete game and the better defensive showing. This could prompt a lineup change if Achiuwa produces more duds.
Just when things were really looking grim, the Rexdale native came in for his first NBA action, and he did not disappoint at all. Dalano Banton started off his NBA career with a half-court heave, and it only got better from there.
Banton, who came into the game over Malachi Flynn, put up seven points and three rebounds in just 12 minutes, showing the length and energy that made him a coveted prospect. If Nick Nurse tweaks the rotation before the Boston game, Banton has to get more minutes.