Will Dalano Banton play point guard or forward for Raptors next season?

Amit Mann and Aaron Rose discuss their takeaways from Dalano Banton's Summer League performance thus far and analyze how he would best fit the Raptors next season. Full podcast looking at other players in Summer League is on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Shifting to another tweener in a way. Dalano Banton who is now a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward. That's the idea is that he can play all these positions. And you can see that sometimes he gets a little bit ahead himself.

He's had some good times. In the G League, he's one of four players averaging at least 15, 5, and 5 in Summer League. The other people, Montero, AJ Lawson, another Canadian, go Canada, and Mac McClung, and then it's Dalano Banton.

He's been playing really fast. A lot of turnovers. He's getting to the free throw line. The 3-point shot looks good. What have you like from him so far?

AARON ROSE: So for me with Dalano Banton, it's not the points per game. The 3-point shot is nice and we've seen that a couple of times that he's shown that off both in catch and shoot opportunities and pull up opportunities, which is really impressive to see. But put all those numbers aside.

If I was just-- now I watch the games, but if I was just looking at the box score stats, at the end of the game, I would scroll past everything else and go right to the turnovers, because to me that first game where he put up those numbers was impressive that he was able to do that, but he had seven turnovers-- or six turnovers, whatever it was, and that's way too many.

So I don't care so much about the highs of Dalano Banton. I care about limiting those lows because I know when he came out-- when he was in the rotation briefly last season, he came out of the rotation because Nick Nurse felt like he couldn't trust him to maintain what the Raptors needed him to do.

If you're coming in the game and you're turning over the ball because you're getting ahead of yourself, because you're making bad decisions when you're getting into the lane, and you're making bad passes under the hoop, or you're just making mistakes, that's when you're coming out of the rotation, no matter how high the highs are. If you're making those mistakes, you're coming right out.

So to me, that's what I need to see coming forward-- going forward. It's not about the points. It's not about anything else. It's about seeing the game slow down for him.

Sometimes we know he's got that speed. We know he's got that length that he can get up the court in a hurry. And I love that. I love to see him as a sort of a change of pace guy. Fred VanVleet comes out, he comes in. That's the ideal role.

But if he can slow down the game so that he's making fewer mistakes and fewer turnovers, that's when he's going to be the most successful. As Nick Nurse always talks about, it's about consistency and it's just limiting those flaws. For me, that's really all I care about for Dalano Banton.

So when I'm looking at him moving forward it's all about, are you slowing down, are you getting to those spots, and are you not coughing up the ball? Even if you're not getting as many points, that's OK as long as you're not making the mistakes.

AMIT MANN: They've thought about playing him at small forward a little bit too, and I wonder if that could be where his role ends up being in the NBA next season. Because if you want to do Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes at point guard, cool. And if you're simplifying things for Dalano Banton, like, these are the three things you're doing.

Instead of playing point guard where there's a lot more room for error, go play small forward and just be like, if his 3-point shot is actually that much better. Now he's like your 3-point shooter and he's attacking off closeouts. And he can get to the rim, and when he gets there, four free throws a game so far in Summer League, I think that's like a sneaky appealing side to him, is that he's able to finish through contact because he's got so much height, and verticality, and he's long.

And he can run in transition. And he fits the Raptors so well, not as a point guard, right? There's a lot appeal to that. And so I wonder if that's where they tap into. Like, they ask him to play faster, and so he started playing faster, and things went really badly at times, right? And so, as you said, the discipline, right?

And I find that right now in Summer League, and he was doing this last season too, that when there's, like, those little alleys for the ball, he wants to throw it, and that's good. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't, obviously. But then what kind of position are you putting your teammate in?

Are they even in a spot where they can actually score the ball? If a person is running along the baseline and you pass to them on the move around the mid-range area, like, what are they doing with the ball now? Unless you have, like, Kevin Durant, for instance, that probably isn't a good spot for them to be and they're not going to get a shot off. So it's like the little things like that.

And there was an example in that Jazz game the other day where he missed Ron Harper Jr. wide open towards the end of the second quarter, right? He was wide open and Dalano Banton goes into the lane. He penetrates, great. Three bodies are in front of him, nothing good happens.

But then the other side of Dalano Banton, early third quarter, he's driving, he's driving, he's driving. He gets to the rim. He fires this left-handed missile across his body to Ron Harper Jr. And I'm like, whoa, where did that come from him? That's a really impressive stuff that not a lot of players can do at his height and his size.

And so you want to tap into that too. It's like, where is the nuance in it? Like, where is the balance? And I think he's still struggling with that, understandably.

And I think that if the Raptors really want to limit the amount of minutes that OG, and Pascal, and Scottie are playing, you could probably put Dalano Banton out there for like 10 minutes in an off-ball role, and maybe that's his best way that he's going to be able to help the Raptors next season.

AARON ROSE: Yeah, it's a good observation that they've mentioned they're trying to get him. They know his on-ball skills are good, but they're trying to develop his off-ball skills. Because if he has that size to be making cuts, and to be-- if he can develop that 3-point shot, that's something that could make him a valuable player. We know he has that size and that speed to defend across multiple positions, something the Raptors really value.

So you're right. If he can become sort of a do-it-all player, something the Raptors are trying to build their rosters with, that's something that we know the Raptors really, really value. And to make him sort of versatile. And again, I think we're sort of grading him on a scale here.

This isn't to say he hasn't been very impressive, but we're holding him to a standard of, he should be the best player on this team. He should be the kind of player that we're grading on a scale, can he be a rotation player for the Raptors next season. So if he wants to be a rotation player for the Raptors and not for the Raptor 905, it's about limiting those turnovers. And that's something we'll have to see both throughout the rest of Summer League and into the preseason for him.