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Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses the rookie season of Scottie Barnes, what surprised him about his play and where he should look to level-up during the offseason. Full availability is on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube.
- Process, and how did that compare to your impression [INAUDIBLE] when Steven joined your last game?
NICK NURSE: Listen, Scottie was kind of-- he was checking all the boxes probably from the moment I first met him. Even probably before that. I talked to his college coach, and he couldn't have said more great things about the guy-- about how much he loved to play, and his personality, and how great a teammate he is, and all the things he can do, and how he thought he was maybe the best secret in the draft, and all these kind of things. And when Scottie-- when we met him, he was he's the same. And he stayed that way almost all year long. I thought, again, he had very few 20-year-old moments.
He had a couple. He had a couple here and there. And usually he'd have those, and he'd fix them before the game was done. He'd be wandering around the first half, wondering where am I, and what game is this, and then before you know it, he'd pour it on in the fourth quarter, and finish off with a good game. So he was great, man. He was great. I think the future's bright. He's a wonderful person, a great teammate, fun to coach. Very talented. Loves being a Toronto Raptor, loves being in Toronto. So there's a lot to love about Scottie, that's for sure.
- [INAUDIBLE]. He's a guy who has all these B-plus skills. Like, there's [INAUDIBLE]. If you had your choice, are there a few specific ones you would like to see be A-minus skills when you see him in September?
NICK NURSE: Well, I mean, again, I think that playing all facets of the game really is a super quality, first of all, right? That he can have all those areas of impact that he has. I mean, I think that for me, I'm always going to say, can he really become a more consistent, somewhat dominant-type defender? Where he's-- we know we had stretches this year, when he says hey, I want to guard Bradley Beal, or I want to go do this, or I want to go do that. More of those-- more of those nights where he's a problem out there, and guys know he's going to be a problem defensively.
And then we're always gonna watch, all of us here are going to watch his scoring skills, and shooting skills, just increase year by year as we go here. And we'll just keep an eye on that. And we'll enjoy that.
- Nick, with Scottie, at the beginning of the season, one of the goals was to just get him to be more aggressive with like, everything. And we saw what [INAUDIBLE]. Do you think that's become a natural part of who he is now? Or do you think there's still more to him?
NICK NURSE: Nah, there's still more growth there. I would say that just like anything, it comes and goes a little bit. It's streaky, or goes in spurts sometimes. The last game the other night, he came out and he saw he had Embiid at him, and he took it straight at him, three times in a row, and scored. And then we didn't see that much again. And then it's like one of those things where if you got a match up, and you can score, and you got it going, then you got to go get the ball, and you got to keep going and going and going, until they have to use two.
Until they use two, and then you start passing. So there's tons of growth there yet. There's tons of growth in all of it. But like you said, like I said, to start the year, the judging factor on him was going to be minutes, and we got him his share. We got him a good share of minutes, and attempts, and get him aggressive and watch the scoring come along.
I think that was everybody's concern. Would he score enough at this level to be impactful enough? And I thought he certainly did in the makeup of our team this year. And I think that'll continue to grow.