The Toronto Raptors brought in four new players in the immediate aftermath of the NBA Draft, and it seems like most of the new additions are working out. Scottie Barnes won Rookie of the Year, Justin Champagnie became a fan favorite, and Dalano Banton (the first Canadian drafted by the Raptors) saw some rotation time.
Even though the Raptors appear to be parting ways with David Johnson after an injury-plagued tenure, Toronto should be thrilled with the possibility of finding 20% of their regular rotation in one draft. Barnes being as dominant as he was ended up being the cherry on top of a tremendous draft.
The Raptors will need to make sure that these players take steps forwards developmentally, as stagnating would put a hard cap on this team’s ceiling as currently constructed. Nick Nurse and the developmental staff still have some work to do with this trio.
If Barnes, Banton, and Champagnie can set and achieve these three fairly realistic goals during the 2022-23 season, that should keep all of them firmly locked in on the railway to their personal success. Expect big things from this parade of talented youngsters.
3 realistic goals for Toronto Raptors second-year players
Dalano Banton: Shoot 35% from 3-point range
Banton’s poor shooting at Nebraska is the main reason that he was not drafted in the first round. Whatever positive things he brought to the table on the defensive end during his rookie season were undercut because of his inability to be an offensive threat.
Banton shot 39% from 3-point range in the G League last season and 46% in this year’s Summer League, so expecting 35% out of him in the NBA shouldn’t be lunacy. After shooting 25% last year and being relegated to mop-up duty because of his inability to be consistent, he has nowhere to go but up.
Dalano Banton must become a better shooter for the Toronto Raptors.
Banton is likely not going to start the season in the rotation, as Scottie Barnes running the second unit as a point guard could be the preferred move for Nick Nurse. Banton can change all of that if he can make himself into a weapon on offense, even if he is a bit limited in his sophomore season.
Banton does a ton of things well. He can be a pesky defender, runs the floor very well for someone his size, and can slash to the rim. The jumper was straight-up broken when he came to the NBA, but he could right that wrong if he has put in enough work in the offseason.