Will Dalano Banton play more point guard or forward with Raptors next season?

Raptors sophomore Dalano Banton has played a lot of basketball during the offseason as he aims to become a rotation player for Toronto next season. Amit Mann and Joshua Howe analyze his skillset and which positions the 22-year-old will be most effective in next season. Listen to the full episode discussing training camp battles at each position on our 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Final question for you, Dalano Banton, the other point guard, kind of forward on the Raptors, do you think he's gonna play more point guard minutes or forward minutes this coming season? What do you think is the recipe for success for Dalano?

JOSHUA HOWE: Yeah. It's interesting cause, I mean, [INAUDIBLE] again, we're assuming Dalano gets a spot. I mean, he's not locked in. But, I mean, I think he's pretty safely locked in.


JOSHUA HOWE: You know, he's not but he is kind of thing, right? Last season, he played 56% of his time at point guard and 43% of his time at shooting guard.


JOSHUA HOWE: So he was in those guard spots a lot during his rookie years-- or rookie year. And that was-- made sense, I think. You know, he was in and out of the rotations and more at the start of the season, and then--


JOSHUA HOWE: --fell out of rotation. Super limited offensively last season. It'll be interesting to see how he's grown over the summer, playing with Team Canada--


JOSHUA HOWE: --stuff like that. But I do think you, probably-- and like we mentioned, you know, especially if the Raptors are bringing in two other depth pieces at forward, you'll probably see him still more at those guard spots.


JOSHUA HOWE: He can-- the one thing I do like from Banton offensively that he's done, I mean, in transition, he's pretty fun. But also, he's a good change of pace guy--

AMIT MANN: Absolutely.

JOSHUA HOWE: --compared to someone like Fred VanVleet, right?

AMIT MANN: Sure, man.

JOSHUA HOWE: VanVleet plays at a very particular type of pace. Banton plays at a completely different type of pace. And being able to, you know, swap those guys in and out at times, bringing the ball up. And they'll be lots of guys, like we've said, who'll be bringing the ball up, including Siakam and Scottie.


JOSHUA HOWE: But Banton kind of brings that at the guard spot there. And you know, on defense, whatever. He's gonna be switching all over the place. I mean, he's big enough and has the wingspan to be able to hold his own there at multiple spots.


JOSHUA HOWE: But he is a good guy to put on a smaller guard, for sure. They're gonna be seeing--


JOSHUA HOWE: --just a whole lot of arms in front of them with Banton. So, yeah, I think he'll probably be-- probably be sticking to the guard spots, for the most part.

AMIT MANN: Guard, whatever guard means. Like, really, guard, I guess, is just point guard--


AMIT MANN: --because shooting guard, and small forward, and power forward are all very similar with the Raptors. But, yes, I hear what you're saying.

JOSHUA HOWE: Yeah. Yeah.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, it's less on ball, would be, probably, like, the way to look at it--


AMIT MANN: --more of a secondary option. And I think that might be the best for his development. As he learns to, like, calm his mind and make it so like his legs are moving very fast but his mind is, like, calm, cool, collected, a tough transition for any player. Like, it's his second year. So him playing a lot of basketball is probably the way to do that, where he's gonna be able to--


AMIT MANN: --understanding reads, seeing the defense as it comes, and being off ball more could probably help him understand--


AMIT MANN: --that a little bit better. But if you talk about things that he can do that other benched players cannot do, it is like the knifing in the lane, and getting those single line drives, and finishing through contact, and just creating offense, being something of a hub. Not that he's gonna be getting those opportunities, but you could see a ways in which, you know, if his jumper is going, and he fakes a shot, he's able to, you know, take a dribble or two, or even one dribble, and he's at the rim because he's got those long strides and the explosion.

And that is a valuable skill. The Raptors could use that. And I love the idea of him coming down the wing with Scottie Barnes, with the ball in the middle, and he pitches it to Dalano. And he's got a wide open lane because he can just soar through the air. And it's beautiful to see.

I think there is a way in which he can get consistent minutes. He just has to nail down his role. And also, the Raptors, defensively, like we said earlier, it's all about, can you understand their peel-switching style? Which the starters obviously get because, I mean, a lot of them have been Raptors for a little while. But Dalano has struggled. Scottie Barnes struggled with it. Like, it's a tough transition to make. They all struggled.

But if he's the person who gets it and is able to be-- because he is so switchable, at, you know, 6' 9" point guard. He can guard a lot of positions. He can rebound the ball. That definitely gives him a leg up over other players. And, obviously, the shooting has to be there.

It's been good to see so far through Summer League and also with Team Canada. Some of the shots he's hitting, like, the footwork is really nice. He's getting the shots off pretty quickly. It seems much more controlled which is a great, great-- great things to see from him. But he's got to be able to do it in training camp and obviously in the season. Other thoughts?

JOSHUA HOWE: Yeah, just, I mean, like you said, I mean, hitting some catch-and-shoot jumpers from distance would be--


JOSHUA HOWE: --just be massive. Because I think, I mean, you got to hit at least a few of those a game to really start to have guys closing out on you.


JOSHUA HOWE: And that's when your 3-point shooting really matters. Because if he can become a close-out attacker--


JOSHUA HOWE: --I think that really opens up not only his game, but some more stuff for the Raptors as well, just some more fun--


JOSHUA HOWE: --things that they could work in there. And they've got some really good cutters on their team as well. So--

AMIT MANN: They do.

JOSHUA HOWE: --just, you know, I think that would be something that, if it carries over-- like you're saying, the shooting looks like it's improved. If it has, especially spot-ups and playing off ball more, I think he definitely has a spot in the rotation if he's able to pull that off, you know, as backup, backup depth there, and someone who already we know can handle his own defensively, so long as he's staying within the scheme. [GIGGLES]

AMIT MANN: Yes. Yeah.