When the Toronto Raptors dealt Dennis Schroder to the Brooklyn Nets at the 2024 trade deadline, it left them without a true backup PG to fill that role. The move left many confused as it was initially hinted that Bruce Brown would transition to playing PG minutes off the bench. Nevertheless, it became apparent in the Raptors' win against Houston on February 9 that Scottie Barnes would lead the second unit as the point guard.
The recently announced 2024 NBA All-Star (albeit an injury replacement) had a near-triple-double performance against the Rockets, with 13 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists, to go with two blocks and two steals. Barnes' impressive eight assists showed he took the secondary playmaker role in stride against Houston.
Speaking of triple-doubles, Barnes achieved the feat in the Raptors' matchup with Cleveland on February 10, with 24 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. Although Toronto lost, it showed Barnes' willingness to distribute the ball, and his assist numbers could've gone up had it not been for the Raptors' lack of offensive groove.
Scottie Barnes, not Bruce Brown, will run the backup point guard role for the Toronto Raptors
Despite the Raptors acquiring additional offensive pieces in Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, the key direction of this franchise still looks to be in the hands of Barnes. But given the teams' decision to part ways with their traditional backup point guard, Barnes has become tasked with the added responsibility of effectively creating for his teammates as part of the second unit.
OG Anunoby's departure from the Raptors also put a good chunk of the team's defensive efforts to fall on Scottie Barnes' shoulders. The future of the Raptors' success lies heavily on the young core's ability to split the duties accordingly without taking away from each other, but elevating each other's play in a sense.
Be that as it may, the sample size for backup PG Scottie is still too small to conclude. Barnes may be a two-way dynamo, but fans cannot expect him to be perfect overnight, especially when his team has shuffled around pieces and roles in recent months.
The backup point guard role shouldn't be put past Scottie Barnes, as he's shown to be an impactful playmaker nonetheless. Raptors fans need to be patient with Barnes as he slowly adjusts to the position, or else placing a negative aura around their young all-star could set the team up for a major catastrophe.