Scottie Barnes may have to go backwards to go forward this season

Imman Adan, Oren Weisfeld and Amit Mann discuss Scottie Barnes' play this season and why he might need to replicate his role last season to find his consistency. Listen to the full episode looking at New Year's resolutions for Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Toronto's management and more on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed.

Video Transcript

IMMAN ADAN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode brought to you by Yahoo Sports Canada. Don't forget to like, subscribe, share it with your friends. Leave comments only if they're positive. We've seen what Scottie can be. If you had a New Year's Resolution for Scottie Barnes, I'll start with you Amit, what is your New Year's resolution for him?

AMIT MANN: I will not pop on pick and rolls anymore. I'm done with it. It's over. I don't think he's comfortable shooting the 3, much like a few Raptors. He's not a threat out there. Teams are willing to give 'em those shots.

And last night, there was a case where he did a pick and roll with Malachi Flynn. And it was towards the baseline. And Malachi, you know, took the screen. Scottie rolled and Malachi tried to get, like, a little entry pass for him. Didn't work out. But in the end, there was a rebound. And Scottie Barnes got it. And he dunked the ball.

I don't-- I don't think Scottie Barnes is strong enough as a 3-point shooter for him to just sit at the 3-point line and really make teams think that he is a threat. But rolling to the rim? He is absolutely a threat.

And when you do roll to the rim, you are able to create driving lanes for the person who is the ball handler. And I think that is probably his best-- best situation for him to be in. And it's going to engage him more. He's going to be able to get a bit more physical. As we've seen, he's not as consistent with that. The effort is kind of up and down.

But if you get into the paint, if you are driving, if you are rolling to the rim, I think you have a better chance of getting a more engaged Scottie Barnes. In that stretch, third quarter, early fourth quarter, when he was doing it, it was paint touches, on paint touches, on paint touches. He was-- he had the ball in his hands and that's what you want to see.

I don't-- you know, it's not a good idea. You don't want him to deviate exactly to what he was last season, where it was just, like, simple paint touches. He shot the 3 when it was open.

But in the end, with where the Raptors are, I would like to see his shots coming from five feet or less. And you know, screw the mid-range. Screw the mid-range. Get back to cutting. Take the 3 when you're wide open. But that's pretty much it.

Exactly, go back to what you were last season because they're missing that element. He was a release valve on so many possessions as a cutter and he's not doing that as much. Actually, like, most from the starters standpoint, like, no one's really doing a lot of cutting. And he was the guy who was doing it and they're missing that, like, severely. So--


AMIT MANN: Oddly, go back to where you were last season. And offseason comes around, get back in the gym and work on your 3's and stuff like that. But right now, man, you're not there. And the Raptors are missing what you were last season.

IMMAN ADAN: Oren, do you have a New Year's Resolution for Scottie?

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah. I mean, this might sound harsh but I think Scottie has to play his role a little bit better. In the sense that, like, stop blowing up possessions and resetting the offense.

I agree with you, Amit, that on the pick and roll he's way dangerous as a roller. And I like when they incorporate that into the offense more. He's a pretty good screener. And he has good touch down there. So if they get him the ball, he can finish.

But there's other situations where he's just standing in the corner. I remember a play last night, I think third or fourth quarter. Pascal drives, everyone collapses, passes it up to Scottie. This happens like five times a game.

And then Scottie doesn't even think about shooting the open 3. He resets the offense. Dribbles to the top of the key. And there's like five seconds on the shot clock. And like, that, to me, just can't happen anymore. He has to shoot the open shots. He was like 35% from 3 for most of the season and now it's gone down to 29%. So you're right. The confidence is not there.

Unfortunately, the way this team is built, he has to be a shooter when the ball comes to him. There's too many-- like, he's starting beside Koloko. Like, there's too many non-shooters on the team for him to be this guy who just resets the offense when a ball comes to him.

So yeah. I think he needs to play his role a little bit better and just kind of accept that this is what I am right now in my second year. And I'm going to grow as a player. And I'm going to have a bigger role each and every year. But right now, I got to lock into this one.

Someone made a good point on Twitter about Jaren Jackson Jr., who is essentially the fourth option on the Grizzlies and is a very talented player, right? And he embraces that option-- the fact that he's not very involved on the offense. He spots up a lot. He screens sometimes.

But I don't see that buy-in from a lot of Raptors. In the sense of like, I'm more talented than this role. But fine, I'm just going to play and thrive in it. And I think Scottie is definitely one of the players guilty of that.

IMMAN ADAN: I think you guys touched a lot on the offensive end. If I could just add something on the defensive end?

AMIT MANN: Please.

IMMAN ADAN: I feel like-- I feel like Scottie falls asleep quite often defensively. And it just-- there was a point where everyone was like, why is he always on-ball? And I'm like, because you ever watched Scottie defend off-ball? [CHUCKLES] He's not-- and sometimes it's not just ball-watching. It's just-- it's just a little bit frozen in space a little bit.

And so in order to keep him engaged, what Nick Nurse has seemed to do is put him on-ball. And that's when you have nights where Jayson Tatum goes, you know, his 17 points in a single quarter, mainly being guarded by Scottie.

And it's like, Scottie is being put in these situations. It's kind of trial by fire a little bit. And that hurts. And I wish it was a little bit nicer but the Raptors need him to be engaged defensively in order for this to be unlocked.

And I know people might listen to this entire segment and it feels a little bit down on Scottie but that's because we all know that Scottie is phenomenal. We've seen what he's been able to do when he plays his role entirely correctly.

And it's just, there have been moments this season, both on the defensive end and the offensive end, I just-- I love when he remembers he's big. It's my favorite thing when Scottie remembers he's big. It's my favorite thing when Scottie boxes out. It's my favorite thing when Scottie sets screens and rolls to the rim. Paint touches, a ton. But also, defensively, I think just a little bit more engaged.

There was this one possession last night. I forget who it was who took this-- who-- it might have even been-- it might have been a 3 above the breaker. It might have just been right inside the line-- right inside the arc where both Boucher and Scottie just messed up their switch.

And Scottie turns around and Boucher is already there. And Scottie's like, well, where do I go? And then Boucher realizes that he messes up. And it's like, both of you guys cannot continuously have these defensive breakdowns, where now, the Grizzlies hit a 3 on that possession.

Like you can't continuously have that where both guys are a little bit late because you're not communicating on defense because you guys fell asleep during the switch. So it's just moments like that where I just want these guys to be more engaged. I think that follows for Chris Boucher as well, especially on the defensive end.