Imman Adan and Asad Alvi credit Dalano Banton for his poise and confidence as the Raptors finally ended their losing streak vs. the Pistons.
- He throws it away. Swiped by Jaden Ivey. Poked away by Banton. Thaddeus Young to Banton for a dunk.
- Wow, heck of a play by Banton.
IMMAN ADAN: Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode brought to you by Yahoo Sports Canada. Don't forget to like, share, subscribe, and comment. My name is Imman. And I am joined by Asad. Asad, what's up?
ASAD ALVI: I'm doing good. We just had a great game. And I'm happy to be here to talk about it.
IMMAN ADAN: I tweeted out earlier today that Dalano Banton did what Kawhi Leonard could not do, which is beat the Dwane Casey-coached Detroit Pistons as a Toronto Raptor. What were your takeaways from that game?
ASAD ALVI: Thank God it's over? We-- we saw a Detroit Pistons team coming in with no Cade Cunningham versus a Raptors team with no everybody, it seemed like. The Raptors had very little healthy bodies in this one. You were kind of just hoping that they could string enough-- string enough offense and enough defense together to get through this one.
And that's where you end up with Dalano Banton getting the start at point guard or whatever you want to call it. Because it doesn't seem like the Raptors really have any positions. But hey, we ran out the full 6' 9". And Dalano Banton gave us 27 points with a career night.
So quite a scene, to be honest. And not just Dalano, I think realistically, again, the issue that's always been, it's like, oh, who's going to be the backup point guard? Who's going to back up Fred VanVleet in the long term?
I don't know if those questions got answered tonight. I know people like to kind of jump-- like, hey, he did really good in, like, 30 minutes. That means he's going to do really well in 12 minutes. And that's usually not the case.
It's usually a lot more freeing for a player to have more minutes, to make more mistakes, to be able to kind of play through the rhythm of the game, knowing you have shots ahead. And you kind of saw both Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton play with a lot more freedom.
Also, I think what really helped Dalano Banton in having a career night was, sure, he was the point guard. But a lot of times-- and Nick Nurse said this after the game as well-- was they had him off-ball. And he utilized the natural advantages he has.
Dalano Banton-- very fast, very long, very good at attacking the rim. So guess what that makes him very good at? Slashing, cutting, attacking the basket, pushing the ball in semi-transition, off a rebound, which are things he has not been doing all season.
So to see him do that while Thad Young plays, like, I don't know, a new age Marc Gasol-- they basically put him in a Marc Gasol set, gave him the ball in the high post, and said, everybody cut. And boom, he hit them time and time again. I think the Raptors had four layups in the game that were just coming off of either back cuts, off of off-ball action while Thad Young was just at the top of the key, ready to whip that ball right to the rim.
And you saw Dalano finally cut off the ball, move a little bit when he didn't have the ball in his hand. And then guess what? He made some 3's. He was aggressive with his shot. It's gone-- it went down last game, came in a little bit confident.
And hey, if you told me that Dalano Banton made the most 3's on the starting lineup, which has OG Anunoby on it, then I would never believe you. And that's exactly what happened. So an awesome game to see from Dalano Banton.
You always want your draft pick from last year to play really well, right? And the Raptors got that tonight with Dalano Banton.
IMMAN ADAN: Shocked-- this is not the slander pod.
ASAD ALVI: I'm just saying one of them showed up, right?
IMMAN ADAN: I was going to ask-- I was like, honestly, at some points, looking at both of these rosters, both teams kind of undermanned, it kind of looked like a G League game at times. And I was like, oh, that's why Dalano's showing up. Like, he felt very much in his element there.
No. But I think your points on Dalano are fantastic. Watching him without the ball is a huge, huge positive for a team that's really struggling to find who that backup point guard is. And we'll talk about someone else who kind of plays in that role there as well.
But it's like-- I think you and I have discussed this on here before-- watching him bring the ball up is not ideal, in that teams just press-- I think the Pistons are probably the only team that I've seen this year that allow Dalano space to bring the ball up on the possessions that he did. Teams have gotten the scouting report on Dalano, which is press up on him.
If you play a full court press on Dalano Banton, it's a turnover. It's not-- you're not advancing the ball past half court, which is something that he struggled with, and I think something that we'll continue to see him grow. But I agree with you, watching him in the role that he had tonight where he's just able to make cuts-- his 3-point shooting, phenomenal today as well.
And also, clutch free throws-- like, that is so important for a team that has struggled to make free throws. And that's kind of what was the game for the Raptors tonight, right? The Pistons struggled to make free throws, and the Raptors made them.
This is a team, and I've talked about this so many times, that is not going to-- especially right now that they're undermanned, they're not going to out-talent other teams. So every possession matters, which is why outrebounding your opponent matters, making sure that they're not getting offensive boards, and making sure that you are to double your possessions there. Getting steals, not turning it over, those are key things that increase the possessions that you have.
And free throws are also free baskets. Make them, Raptors. And tonight, Dalano did that in the clutch with four really, really, really crucial baskets. I just think that poise that he had coming into the starting lineup, no one knowing that he was going to start prior to the game, really, just all kudos to Dalano Banton.
ASAD ALVI: Yeah, and hey, just to continue on Dalano, the point-- like, when we talk about turnovers, to not be scared of being fouled in the clutch-- like, other players would have been maybe a little bit more frantic. Like, hey, maybe we should pass the ball around, and just trying to spend a little more clock. And then whoever they foul, they foul. No, Dalano--
IMMAN ADAN: We watch Ben Simmons here. We've--
ASAD ALVI: --Dalano got the ball there--
IMMAN ADAN: --we have seen what that looks like.
ASAD ALVI: --Dalano got the ball there and just waited for Jaden Ivey to come and foul him in a time when the Raptors were only up by 2 points at the time. So those were critical free throws. So that shows gumption.
Also, just in terms of handling the ball, Dalano Banton, that first quarter, Dalano and Malachi both combined for a total of one assist and three turnovers, two of them by Dalano. They weren't great turnovers, either. Neither was Malachi, so we honestly just lost the ball.
But Dalano Banton also ended the game with two turnovers. So that kind of shows you how he slowed down, was able to take care of the ball for the rest of the game, and really get control of that, which is something you need your ball handler to do. The Raptors don't necessarily need a backup point guard in the sense of someone to run the offense. But they do need someone to be able to bring the ball up past half court safely and get the ball to their better passers. You have Thad Young right now in the half court, who can basically facilitate all the passing. You have OG Anunoby, who did a great job of getting in the paint all night, and then passing out of that and getting the ball moving from side to side.
And then you had Scott Barnes throw the ball a couple of times. So a couple of passes were happening. But really good on Dalano for getting the ball up safely, making clean passes, and making sure to attack where his spots were. And that's all you can really ask for.
And you're hoping to see that continue. Because he's shown it at the G League level. And now, you're hoping that he can bring that same aggression and that same precision in his game night to night in a smaller role as well.
IMMAN ADAN: I won't stand for the slander.
ASAD ALVI: So [INAUDIBLE] Hey, look--
IMMAN ADAN: I will not stand for the slander, but let's pivot to talking about Scott.
ASAD ALVI: --I would never-- I would never slander Scottie Barnes. Unfortunately, he's been missing in action. Instead, we have Dunker Spot Scott.