Amit Mann and Katie Heindl analyze Scottie Barnes' play-style along with how he's used in the Raptors' offence. Full episode discussing the major storylines around the team is on the ‘Raptors Over Everything’ podcast feed.
AMIT MANN: His field-goal attempts go from, like, 5 to 18 to 6 to 20. Very up and down throughout this season. And I think he is the person, because of his screening ability-- which, by the way, yesterday he did a great job of setting up his teammates for open shots. Like, screening is an art form, and he did a great job of that yesterday. Just want to say that.
But I think he is struggling right now to understand where his advantages are within his current role. Last season it was maybe a little bit simpler because the Raptors didn't run a lot of pick and roll. And now they are, and he's being asked to be that screener. And knowing where his advantages are, it's probably more like looking at tape. He doesn't want to be overzealous with his offense. That's not really his identity. He's more of a passer. He calls himself Magic Johnson. He wants to be a Magic Johnson type.
So I don't think he's looking to make his offense happen, necessarily. I think he's looking to get his teammates involved and to have, like, the ball flowing and not to hold on to it too long, but sometimes he just seems unsure of himself.
But back to the original point. Are his passive tendencies on him, or is it-- do you think it's more of a coaching-staff thing, that they have to help him get more engaged within, like, their possessions and schemes and actions?
KATIE HEINDL: Yeah, I think it falls in the middle somewhere because, you know, Nick Nurse is saying they need him to be more aggressive offensively throughout the game, not just late in the game, as we've kind of seen him in the last small sample size of games where he has shown up, whether that's in the fourth or third to fourth.
But then there is still this question of hesitation, I would say, occasionally looking not fully lost but not exactly sure where the best place for him to be is to help. And I think he does-- he does look to help, right?
AMIT MANN: Sure.
KATIE HEINDL: Like, he's not-- he's, like, very generous in terms of who can get the best shot off.
I thought it was pretty apt what Fred said last night in his postgame. He was asked about Scottie. I think he was asked about this very thing and just like, is it tough for him to learn the offense and, like, what's, you know, this, like greater role that's being put on him? And Fred said no. Like, you know, yes, he's in his second year, but, like, he's a pro. He's in this league. Like, there's a level of knowledge there. So he said, like, he gets it, and he's continuing to get it.
Is this perhaps just a plateau? I'm not really sure, but I do feel like you can't place it solely on Scottie, and you can't really place it solely on the coaching staff. Though I would like to see, perhaps, because of how well he responded in the fourth last night, you know, when he found-- he figured, like, oh, I can just go. I'm just going to go up against Brook Lopez.
AMIT MANN: Sure.
KATIE HEINDL: And for whatever reason Brook Lopez is not going to respond to it.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
KATIE HEINDL: I think if you see things like that happening, that's where it behooves you as a coach to adjust and try and finesse that, especially last night. You just want to, like, finesse that kind of spark and that energy if you see it happening.
AMIT MANN: I was looking at his shot attempts yesterday and the order of how it all broke down. And going into that stretch, he had taken three shots. Sorry, he had taken two shots leading into the fourth quarter, right?
And so one of them was attacking Brook. He missed a contested layup. That was 9:51 in the first quarter remaining. Second shot, third quarter-- third quarter. So we've jumped quite a bit there. He gets Grayson Allen on a switch. Brook Lopez helps, and he misses a reverse layup.
After that, it's almost like-- I mean, maybe there was a time-- I should have actually looked at this. Maybe there was a timeout. But 7:06 in the fourth quarter onward, it's almost like he was told do this now, right? Like, let's see if this helps our offense. And he was getting Brook on his heels in a way that Pascal Siakam, you know, couldn't necessarily do because of just Scottie's strength.
And you get big man like that moving east-west, north-south a little bit, you can probably make some advantages if you have the physicality, the intangibles, the stride length. And he has all of that, and that's what's so intriguing about him when you see him go through these, like, stretches.
And it does seem like right now he's like a rhythm shooter, a rhythm scorer where it's like when he's in a rhythm with his shot, anything can go in. Or he might just turn down, like, several shots from the nail, which are just like why are you passing these up, man? Like, you got to take these shots.
But when he's in that mode, when he is engaged, it's like who can stop him, right, when he's so physical and he's so-- he has such a nice touch around the rim. And I think the Raptors need to ensure that doesn't happen.
Sure, like, you need him to be your screener because, like I said, he is good at it, and there is versatility with him being a screener as opposed to someone else just with, like, his strides and his playmaking from around the free-throw line extended. If you're able to, you know, utilize that a little bit and just get him on the short roll, stuff like that, there is something that he offers that others don't because of his skill set. But I don't think that can be forgotten, and yesterday it was forgotten.
Now, sure, if shots are being hit which was within the offensive scheme from the other players, maybe we're not even talking about this. Scottie has, like, 4 points or something like that, but the Raptors win, and off we go to New York. Well, the Knicks are coming here, but you know what I mean.
So it's like it's a balance, but-- and this goes back to, like, the role-definition thing too that I think it's very confusing at times for him. And I'm not sure whether the Raptors are going to be, you know, going for the rest of the season, but I think maybe because of the lack of pick-and-roll reps for the team that they're unsure. They're still figuring out how do they use a roller like Scottie. Maybe it's that.
But I think they have to find ways to utilize his skill set more and to keep him engaged in the offense. I think it's-- he has to do his part too, but I think the Raptors as a whole within their actions, they have to do their part too.