3 best roster moves the Raptors have made in 2021-22 season

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 01: Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 01: Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Scottie Barnes
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors might be in a very close fight for their playoff survival, but they should be commended for even making it this far. After last year’s nightmare in Tampa, many expected them to once again be fighting for a lottery spot and rebuilding 2022 and beyond next season.

Rather than capitulate under those expectations, Toronto has put forth such a spirited effort this year that they would be in the play-in tournament if the season ended today. Not bad all for a team that is playing a bunch of young players at the expense of some established veterans.

The Raptors wouldn’t be here without Masai Ujiri making some solid moves before and during the season while Nick Nurse implemented them perfectly into his scheme. Toronto has made some unconventional decisions when compared to some of their contemporaries, but the team has been just as effective by going against the grain.

These 3 moves have helped Toronto position itself as a firm contender for a play-in spot and a potential playoff run. If Toronto did not make these decisions over the last few months, their entire trajectory would’ve changed.

3 best roster moves the Toronto Raptors have made this season

3. Starting Scottie Barnes immediately

While the Raptors had high hopes for Barnes as a rookie, him entering the starting lineup as a rookie shocked a good chunk of fans. Barnes billed as a very raw offensive prospect, and the idea of him, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam all sharing the floor seemed awkward.

Nurse has tinkered with the lineup around him, but he never wavered in his belief that Barnes should start right away and play an extremely important role. Considering that he might end up winning Rookie of the Year if he continues at his current pace, his intuition was proven correct.

The Toronto Raptors must be thrilled with Scottie Barnes.

Barnes is averaging 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game this season. During a win against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, Barnes showed that he can make impact defensive plays and be a weapon on offense when Pascal Siakam was sidelined with foul trouble.

The draft prognosticators were initially pessimistic on Barnes’ ability to become an impact as a rookie. Toronto should be commended for making sure he was given plenty of opportunities to learn on the job during his rookie year.