The Washington Wizards star ended up getting undressed by Fred VanVleet as he collapsed into the rotating arms of OG Anunoby and Dalano Banton.
As soon as Barnes noticed that the ball had been dropped and was about to be retrieved by rookie teammate Banton, he took off.
Shouting down the left side of the pitch, Barnes filled the lane perfectly and was rewarded when Precious Achiuwa, who received Banton’s first out pass, found Barnes for an easy layup and foul.
A three-point game that brought the Raptors, down to 29, to less than 10 points with two and a half minutes to go.
Unfortunately for the Raptors, they could no longer cut the deficit as they ended up dropping their season opener in Washington, 98-83, but the fact that they managed to carve out such an insurmountable lead and making something of a match with it – with their prized rookie on the floor helping to drive that comeback attempt – is not to be sneezed at.
The Barnes era started in Toronto and it started with a strong performance with equal parts hiccups and highlights, but more importantly, an attractive base the Raptors can build on.
For the contest, Barnes finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and an assist while returning the ball six times, committing five personal fouls and shooting 5 of 13 from the field.
A debut in the NBA that was, in the words of his coach, “OK”.
“He was fine. I think he got his feet wet, ”Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after the game. “I think we see a very good player there. He made some good games. He bounced the ball. I thought he pushed the ball pretty well, that he was doing things like that. I see he only had one assist, which is pretty weak for him. I thought he had a few more assists than that that led to buckets, but maybe we didn’t pull them off. “
Nurse’s Barnes’ good-weather assessment of the night is fair, but it doesn’t speak to some of the flashes of brilliance that the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s Draft showed in his first official NBA game. .
There was the southpaw sky hook he made in the first quarter for his first two NBA points, for one, the streak in the second quarter when he picked up a rebound and went coast to coast for a tough and contested layup, the perfect rebound pass he delivered to a cutting Chris Boucher in the fourth quarter and, of course, that and-one streak at the end of the last period that reduced Washington’s lead to 10.
Yes, the turnovers and fouls he made seemed rough, but on a lot of those fouls handed down against him, let’s just say the rookie was getting something of a “welcome to the NBA” from the officials because he seemed to have it. got the short end of the stick on at least three calls against him.
And while Nurse was understandably underrated in his assessment of Barnes on Wednesday given how the game turned out for his team, one only needs to look at one statistic, in particular, to find out what the Raptors coach probably really thought of Barnes’ evening.
Nurse said during the preseason that the most important stat to watch when it comes to Barnes is minutes played, because if he burns himself a lot it probably means Barnes is having a good game.
Well, Barnes both started on Wednesday and he spent about 32 minutes, third on the team on Wednesday behind Raptors Anunoby and Fred VanVleet.
And even more telling, Barnes played the entire fourth quarter, as he and Banton helped lead the charge in the Raptors near comeback.
Getting that kind of experience can only help Barnes advance his career in the NBA.
“Well, I think the only thing you have to instill first is that you have to play the full 48 no matter what the situation is,” Nurse said. “This thing hasn’t been a lot of fun for a long time. It was not easy. We were shooting poorly, the layups were missing. They were dribbling with the back of their foot to one of their other guys. Things like that kind of happened all night and they found a way to juice up and keep playing through it and that’s the key. But again, one of the first things you need to instill is that you need to play the full 48, so I think you’ll see that a bit.
Barnes didn’t play every 48 minutes, but during the 32 he played, there’s no denying that he played every second.
So while he didn’t have the most perfect debut, there’s no doubt he made an impact during it.
And it looks like something to lean on.