The first game Dalano Banton started in the NBA was an unmitigated disaster. The 2021-22 Toronto Raptors, when at their most broken due to injury and illness, walked steadily to the executioner's block and met their fate: A 45-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Banton scored seven points in 23 minutes and recorded three turnovers and six assists. Facing the Detroit Pistons -- and with the Raptors again missing a huge portion of the top of their rotation -- Banton made sure the Raptors were the executioners rather than the executed.
To be fair, the situations were not quite the same. Toronto's most established player in Banton's first start was Chris Boucher, followed by Yuta Watanabe. Against the Pistons, the Raptors were equipped with Scottie Barnes and O.G. Anunoby. Both have been up and down as offensive initiators, but they are miles ahead of anyone the Raptors had in Banton's first star. But perhaps the most significant difference was Banton himself.