Start, bench, cut: Toronto Raptors point guard options in 2023

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 03: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 03: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors have one of the most unsettled and unusual point guard situations in the NBA, which is not what a first-year coach in Darko Rajakovic wants to see. Losing a veteran player with a pedigree in Fred VanVleet could have such a destructive effect on this roster.

Scottie Barnes is still percolating around the roster amid expectations that he is going to be the franchise player, and FIBA World Cup champion and MVP Dennis Schroder figures to play a very important role. Malachi Flynn and Jeff Dowtin are on the roster once again, and Markquis Nowell signed a two-way contract after the NBA Draft.

Rajakovic will be allowed to make some mistakes this season, as the outside media is not expecting the Raptors to achieve much in terms of postseason success this season. However, if Rajakovic wants to both shock the world and set this team up for success in the future, he needs to nail this decision.

The Raptors could mix and match all sorts of options to find the best loadout of point guards early in the season. One of their options needs to be the starter, one of them must be put on the bench to thrive as a Sixth Man, and one of them better have rented their place in Toronto instead of bought.

Start, bench, cut: Toronto Raptors point guards

Start: Scottie Barnes

The only way to start Barnes without putting Gary Trent Jr. on the bench is to shift him over to the point guard spot. Rajakovic will lean on Barnes to get the offense started, and the best way to make sure the Raptors get the most out of him is to put the ball in his hands.

Barnes has some serious issues as a perimeter player, namely his shooting, but that should not deter the Raptors. If Toronto genuinely believes he could be the team’s franchise player due to his unique skillset, 2023-24 is a golden opportunity to see what his ceiling could be.

The Toronto Raptors should trust Scottie Barnes.

No matter what happens with Barnes as a shooter, he should be given an extended run at point guard based solely on his passing ability. Barnes can run the floor and pull off passes from unique angles, which could help Toronto if they want to run a faster offense this season.

While playing at the high school and collegiate level is nowhere close to the grind the NBA is, Barnes did come up through the ranks as an oversized point guard. Returning to that role might be best for his personal development and Toronto’s long-term picture.