3 positive takeaways from the Raptors' latest loss that give hope for the future

The Toronto Raptors might've lost to the defending champion, Denver Nuggets, but their gutsy performance proved their rebuild is headed in the right direction.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets
Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
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1. RJ Barrett has blossomed into a fundamental young piece for the Toronto Raptors

RJ Barrett is a stud, no question about it. He is on track to become the greatest Canadian to ever lace up as a member of the Toronto Raptors, and he's barely a full season into his homecoming. Barrett certainly has his flaws, such as a significant drop off in free throw percentage as of late, but the Canadian is far from the 'toxic asset' he was once labeled not too long ago.

RJ Barrett has turned his career around on the Toronto Raptors, changing the narratives of being a 'toxic asset'.

In the March 11 matchup against Denver, Barrett led the team with a near triple-double of 26 points, seven rebounds, and a new career-high of nine assists. And those free-throw woes mentioned earlier? Not much of an issue on this night as Barrett shot a perfect five-of-five on his free throws. Gradey Dick might've raised some eyebrows with his unleashed playmaking skills, but Barrett's equally as unselfish play style is another key takeaway to get Raptors fans excited for the future.

Barrett can certainly score at will in a flash, he's shown that with his ability to seemingly score 20+ points a night with ease. But many other facets of Barrett's game make him a valuable building block for the Raptors young core, including his willingness to chase rebounds and find the open man.

The keys to Toronto's future seem to still be in the hands of Scottie Barnes, but for the Raptors' franchise player to have a supporting cast featuring RJ Barrett, the "Maple Mamba" can certainly take some of the offensive load off of Barnes' shoulders while also creating for others in the process.

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