The Toronto Raptors looked sharp in their Summer League debut, handling the New York Knicks with an 89-79 win.
No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes showed out in his first NBA game, while second-year guard Malachi Flynn was surgical on the offensive end.
If you missed any of the action, we have you covered with some thoughts on the game below.
1. The Scottie Barnes era begins
The highly anticipated debut of the Raptors' No. 4 overall pick did not disappoint. Barnes showed flashes of all the little things he can do to impact a game, coming up with steals on the defensive end, creating open looks for his teammates, hustling to corral rebounds and using his voice to be an outspoken leader.
Barnes stuffed the stat sheet, going for 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and just one turnover.
He played suffocating defence, using his size and length to disrupt opposing ball handlers.
LOCKDOWN pic.twitter.com/4OO45vX9cH- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 8, 2021
His jump shot was seen to be his biggest flaw, and while he did start the game with an airball on a jumper, that didn't prevent him from firing away. Barnes continued to shoot with confidence, knocking down a couple midrange pull-ups and floaters, as well as a 3-pointer trailing in transition.
👀 @ScottBarnes561 pic.twitter.com/QPgcSEonq6- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 8, 2021
After the draft, Barnes was adamant that his jump shot was being unfairly critiqued and that he had made improvements over the offseason. He showed some of those improvements in his debut and I was very impressed with how often he was looking to create his own shot.
He also had a beautiful left-handed, three-quarter-court pass that displayed the type of heads-up plays he's capable of making to initiate offence.
Long-range and left-handed 🏀- NBA (@NBA) August 8, 2021
Scottie Barnes finds Dalano Banton for a @Raptors layup on ESPN2! #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/TZ6DKRihXp
It was an encouraging first performance for the star rookie.
2. Don't forget about Malachi Flynn
The second-year guard's name hasn't been mentioned all that much this offseason, but with Kyle Lowry's departure, Flynn could be in line for a major uptick in minutes this upcoming season.
He looked like the best player on the floor in this Summer League game, playing with the type of confidence you would expect from a former first-round pick that is coming off of his first full NBA offseason. He finished with a team-high 23 points, shooting a sharp 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
Flynn was looking to score every time he touched the ball. He appeared to have added some new moves to his shot creating arsenal, using a handful of advanced dribble moves to shake his defenders and get open looks.
He shot the lights out from 3-point range, including a deep bomb with a hand in his face, to help explain the mentality he was playing with on offence.
Hand up, hand down doesn't matter.- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 8, 2021
His jumper was smooth off the dribble and Flynn showcased an ability to help replace the void of offensive production that will be left behind from Lowry. After a strong end to his rookie campaign, Flynn looked very prepared to take on a bigger role this upcoming season.
3. Freddie Gillespie's effort and energy
Gillespie was a late addition to the Raptors' roster last season, looking to add center depth during a time of need. He was as solid as can be over 20 games and he was rewarded with a two-year contract this offseason for his efforts.
In his first Summer League game, Gillespie continued to show the things we saw in a small sample size last season: a nose for the ball on the glass, high-energy defence and hustle plays to help the team win.
He was a monster on the boards, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds (five offensive). While he struggled to finish around the rim, going 1-for-9 for the game, his impact was still felt in other ways, particularly with his defence and rebounding.
Gillespie should be a serviceable reserve big again this upcoming season.
4. Obi Toppin fills it up
The No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft didn't receive consistent minutes during his rookie campaign. With up-and-down playing time, it was hard for Toppin to find any sort of a rhythm, resulting in a forgettable first season.
As the focal point of the Knicks' Summer League team, we finally got a chance to see what Toppin is capable of doing when he gets the minutes. He went off for a game-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds, a steal and a block.
His athleticism was on full display, throwing down an electric dunk in transition.
OBI GOIN' UP pic.twitter.com/JYDxIkQlkG- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) August 8, 2021
He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, played some physical defence and attacked the glass with a ton of energy.
New York's frontcourt will still be crowded this upcoming season, but the 23-year-old will try to make his case for a solidified role on the court this summer.
5. Knicks' rookie Jericho Sims throws down poster dunk
The Knicks selected Sims - a super athletic, rim-running center - with the No. 58 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and it only took one game to show the threat he provides as a lob catcher and rim protector.
This poster dunk on Gillespie will be one of the best we see this summer.
There's hops and then there's Jericho Sims' hops. pic.twitter.com/tp8O0ZwFMi- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) August 8, 2021
Sims was a beast inside, going for 12 points (6-6 FG), eight rebounds and one block.
6. What's next?
The Raptors will take on the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. ET. The Knicks will take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. ET.
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