Raptors: 3 preseason revelations Nick Nurse must consider

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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The preseason can be a difficult time to gauge. Toronto Raptors fans are well aware that at the end of the day, preseason games are just exhibitions and that the top-tier talent isn’t really going full speed. The ups and downs players display should be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, we just can’t help ourselves diving into the marshes and attempting to pick out a sliver of truth from the preseason weeds. What does the young bench rotation mean for the future of the franchise? Will the team stack up against their opponents similarly in the regular season?

To take what we see in the preseason as unimpeachable evidence of regular season production is foolish, but to throw it all to the wind would be a waste of information. There are plenty of positive trends that should translate over to the 2022-23 campaign.

Here are three revelations from the NBA’s warmup games, or things that, at the very least, are worth monitoring come opening day. Nick Nurse needs to make sure these preseason developments get tested in the regular season in order to achieve maximum production.

3 revelations from the Toronto Raptors’ preseason

1. Scottie Barnes at PG is real

Ever since it became clear that Malachi Flynn was a step behind what the team would want from a backup point guard, fans and staff alike have been combing the beach of free agency to see where we might be able to find some relief for Fred VanVleet.

Pascal Siakam taking a leap as a playmaker and initiator helped ease that load, as did O.G. Anunoby evolving as a creator for himself. Still, the team was lacking that playmaking and ball-handling presence when VanVleet sat. Enter Scottie Barnes.

The media got excited by Barnes’ athleticism, versatility, and fire, but the keen-eyed Raptors fan knew that he brought more to the table than just an all-world body and attitude. Barnes didn’t have the polish or savvy to match VanVleet’s skills as a distributor, but his raw talent as a passer was better than anyone else’s on the team.

The Toronto Raptors must utilize Scottie Barnes.

The skip passes, no-lookers, and bullets down the middle to find cutters Barnes throws at his size were what garnered comparisons to Draymond Green and had Magic Johnson comparing Scottie to himself.

In this preseason, we’ve seen Barnes’ ball-handling duties expand. It’s clear that the scheme, with him doing more as an initiator, focuses on a triple-threat starting five where everyone on the floor can score for themselves, set teammates up, and play excellent defense.

Does that mantra sound familiar? It should. It was the same in 2019.