Raptors' record-setting assist totals shows Scottie Barnes running point can work

Schroder has been a serviceable addition to the Raptors, but it's time to let point Scottie shine.
Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

After a disappointing string of losses for the Toronto Raptors, the team happily bounced back with a dominant 132-102 victory over the Washington Wizards. A statement win was not the only highlight of the Raptors’ night, as their revamped starting lineup saw Scottie Barnes at point guard in place of Dennis Schroder, resulting in the franchise’s second-all-time record for most assists in a game with 43. 

With Schroder moving to the bench unit, Gary Trent Jr. returned as the starting shooting guard, a role he held for the majority of his time as a Raptor before this season. Schroder didn’t disappoint off the bench either, as he had a near-double-double of nine points and ten assists.

Pascal Siakam had an incredible showing too, as he put up 22 points, six rebounds, and contributed 11 assists to the team’s total of 43. OG Anunoby had not too shabby of a night either, with 26 points and six rebounds.

However, the star of the night had to be point Scottie, as he had a fantastic outing of 20 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists to go with three steals, two blocks, and 4-8 on his 3-pointers. 

Going into this season, there were questions about Barnes' role on this Raptors squad. Schroder had the faithful backing of Darko Rajakovic to lead the pack as starting point guard. Sure, Schroder has been an impactful player for the Toronto Raptors thus far, but the discourse has slowly shifted in a more critical direction with the ball-hogging point guard playing more “hero ball" lately.

Rajakovic hammered home the principles of passing the ball as much as possible with Scottie at the helm, and it worked to perfection. The Raptors have now recorded three of the five highest assist totals in franchise history in the last six weeks, and they have become the only team in the NBA to pile up 40 assists in a game, which they have done twice.

Scottie Barnes at PG works in the Toronto Raptors' pass-happy offense.

This game proved that with Barnes at point guard and Schroder off the bench, the offense was just as smooth, if not more so. Every Raptor seemed to make an impact, as four starters hit double figures.

After weeks of struggling to find an offensive identity, a more cohesive and effective approach with Barnes at the center of it all was unleashed on Washington.

Of course, it’s a small sample size against a bad defense, and it remains on the team to find consistency when it comes to shooting, but this Wizards win is certainly a positive note for Raptors fans to look forward to as the team tries to get back on track.