A diary of genius: Scottie Barnes is inventing new ways to play without the ball

Scottie Barnes, moving without the ball, and using opponents' expectations against them.

It happens only moments into the Toronto Raptors' game against the Indiana Pacers. Scottie Barnes sets a screen for Fred VanVleet, and Barnes' defender, Myles Turner, camps deep in the paint. He is halfway across the court, paying no attention to Barnes. Barnes ambles over to Gary Trent jr., sets another screen. Turner doesn't move. Trent seems shocked, tosses a slow pass to Barnes.

This is a turning point. Barnes is being flagrantly disrespected. Some players would catch the ball, turn, and drive directly into the defender's chest, come hell or high water, to prove a point. Some would shoot an open jumper. Some would step behind the 3-point arc to shoot an open jumper. Most would be thrown completely off their games to see a playoff-style adjustment on the second offensive possession of a Monday evening game in January. But Barnes does nothing of the sort.

The 21-year-old simply dribbles towards Trent for a dribble handoff, not needing to hurry, with Turner sure not to move. Trent uses the pseudo-screen and fires an open pull-up jumper, the defense overreacting and fouling him.

The play becomes something of a plant-your-flag moment in the quarter. The Pacers are simply not going to guard Barnes outside of the paint, and he is simply not going to force things.

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