Toronto Raptors: Offence, veterans struggle in season opener

Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) reacts after scoring against the Washington Wizards: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) reacts after scoring against the Washington Wizards: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors opened their season with a 98-83 loss to the Washington Wizards as the team struggled to get things going offensively.

With all the excitement and anticipation for this upcoming season, the Toronto Raptors didn’t put their best foot forward in their loss to the Washington Wizards on opening night.

We have seen the Raptors struggle to score over the last couple of seasons and that was the issue against Washington. There aren’t many teams winning by scoring 37 points in the first half and 83 in total.

While Toronto has made it known that they want their defence to be a major factor in their game plan but that only works if the offence can take advantage. The team showed glimpses of that in the fourth quarter but it was obviously a little too late at that point.

There was no shortage of support from those in attendance as fans tried to give the team something to cheer about. Unfortunately, the Raptors couldn’t take advantage of home-court advantage.

Fred VanVleet struggled out of the gate finishing the game 5-of-20 and no one was able to pick up the slack. This is where the departure of Kyle Lowry played a significant role in the offensive dropoff as the veteran was usually counted on to provide a spark when the team needed someone to take control.

It might take some time for things to improve and hopefully, Toronto finds a way to produce more results on offence.

Toronto Raptors get promising debuts from Scottie Barnes and Danton Balano

There were many ups and downs in this game for the Raptors but there were some bright spots including stretches where Scottie Barnes and Delano Banton were not afraid of being put out on the court.

Barnes showed at times that he was a rookie still trying to get used to playing against NBA-calibre talent. In the fourth quarter, we saw the vision and playmaking ability in the open court that shows some promise going forward.

"“One thing I noticed, players in this league are really damn good,” Barnes told reporters after the game via the Toronto Star. “Everybody can make shots, you’ve got to execute the game plan to its finest and you can’t take plays off at all.”"

Banton made the most of his first time getting the ball in the game throwing up a buzzer-beater to end the first half. The bench tried to will the Raptors back into the game as a rotation of Banton, Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher, Khem Birch and Gary Trent Jr. seemed to find a groove at both ends of the court.

Right now, there’s no reason to not give both Banton and Barnes some rope if the starters cannot get the job done offensively.

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What were your thoughts on the Raptors game? What can they do to improve offensively? Let us know in the comments below.