Nick Nurse: Scottie Barnes stepped up to guard Khris Middleton

When the Toronto Raptors were deciding who should guard Khris Middleton, Scottie Barnes quickly volunteered to take the assignment. He did just that, and helped the Raptors to a win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Raptors learned shortly before tipoff that the Bucks would play without Giannis Antetokounmpo to rest, so their game plan shifted a bit. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said Barnes took the challenge and called it a talent of his to step up at that moment.

He has done that some when we’ve gone into games. It’s really a talent of his. That’s the mindset we need him to stay in because I think there is probably a guy for him to guard at the guard or the forward that is going to be a high-points producer and a high-usage guy every night. That is, I think, a good way for him to go into the game because that is something he can do to help us and help himself every night.

Barnes finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and one blocked shot during the 97-93 victory as the Raptors snapped the Bucks’ eight-game win streak. He went 5-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, in 39 minutes.

While Barnes was tasked with guarding an All-Star in Middleton, the fourth overall pick once again stayed hot behind the 3-point line. He is shooting 47.6% (10-of-21) from beyond the arc over his last three games on an average of seven attempts per game.

The Raptors recently asked Barnes to stay aggressive in shooting the ball and the rookie has certainly bought into that game plan. Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has been impressed that Barnes was willing to make the change without issue.

I think it just speaks to being accountable and being coachable and that’s part of this thing that we don’t really talk about a lot. We are very pampered, spoiled guys and we make a lot of money and everybody in our world is telling us how great we are but, sometimes, you’ve got to have people tell you the truth and you’ve gotta be able to accept that. That’s Nick pulling him after he pulled that crazy behind-the-back pass (on Sunday), or him telling him to shoot more. He steps up and he looks like he’s been shooting all his life.

Barnes has seemingly stepped on a nightly basis to start the season with the Raptors. He has played, at times, well beyond his years and has often earned praise from his peers and coaches from around the league, something that will likely continue throughout the season.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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