The Toronto Raptors currently don’t have a traditional backup point guard, as Nick Nurse is willing to leave Fred VanVleet on the court for as long as possible rather than lean on either Dalano Banton or Malachi Flynn. After promising starts to their Raptors tenure, both of them are in a bit of a rut.
Flynn, picked 29th overall in 2020 out of San Diego State, has been a below-average shooter in a year where Toronto expected tangible offensive growth. Banton, a 2021 second-rounder from Nebraska by way of Rexdale, went from a promising bench sparkplug to a benchwarmer.
With Nick Nurse using a truncated rotation amid Toronto’s losing streak, Banton and Flynn have been put on ice outside of some meaningless garbage-time minutes. With a huge 2022 makeover on the horizon, the odds of the Raptors keeping both of them around are unlikely.
Will the Raptors keep Banton or Flynn in 2022-23? While the present has been a bit rocky, it’s clear to see that both of them have traits worth developing, and a Toronto team built around making sure that their young studs keep improving will make sure that they hold on to at least one of these greenhorns.
Should the Toronto Raptors lean on Dalano Banton or Malachi Flynn?
The Case for Dalano Banton
Banton, who is averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game on 41% shooting this season, has scored more than five points in a game just once since November 21. Since then he’s made just 27% of his shots and had issues holding onto the ball. Luckily, his G League stats have been very encouraging.
Banton has averaged 27.5 points per game with Raptors 905, including 33 in a win over the Cleveland Charge. When given an extended run on the floor and allowed to handle the ball, Banton has shown an adeptness for getting to the rim and finishing inside in the developmental leagues.
Toronto Raptors: Dalano Banton projects as a nice two-way player.
While Banton is a bit ropy and might struggle to defend some above-average offensive guards, his 6-9 body, long arms, and motor would make him a unique chess piece to move around the perimeter in the immediate and long-term future.
Banton may have screwed up his developmental timeline by working his way into the rotation as a rookie, but he’s already proved that he is much too good to be stuck in the G League constantly. He may be the best option on this Raptors roster when it comes to replacing VanVleet.