Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse had a simple message for rookie Scottie Barnes on Thursday night: Take the darn three!
It's enough already.
The Raptors' rookie has shown he's capable of nailing every other shot on the court. He's shooting 67% at the rim, 43% from the mid-range, he can hit pull-up jumpers, work off-the-dribble, and do just about everything in the offensive zone except take and make three-pointers.
"He can do it," Nurse said. "I mean listen, you guys see make his free throw percentage just keeps going higher and higher and his 17-footer’s a good shot. And he needs to stretch out because it's gonna be there. To me the sooner he starts attempting the sooner it will become part of his game. And what are we waiting for?"
It's a mental hurdle Barnes clearly has to get over. While he did take two three-pointers on Thursday, missing both, he did pass up a wide-open attempt in the first quarter that must have had Nurse screaming.
It doesn't matter that he stepped in and made the two-pointer because this season is about development for the Raptors. One two-pointer wasn't going to matter last night against the Utah Jazz, but Barnes getting the feel for his three-point shot, learning how to catch-and-shoot, that could.
Barnes acknowledged it post-game, saying he needs to take the shot if it's open.
"It's just you've got to be more confident taking threes," he said, speaking in the second person.
"There's a lot of opportunities on the floor where I could be able to shoot threes or space out to a corner or to the wing. It's not really that hard of an effort to try to shoot it. It's just me letting it go and shooting."
At this point, that's what this year is all about for Toronto. Sure, wins and losses still matter, but it's the long-term the Raptors are focusing on. Making a couple of two-pointers isn't worth the development value of taking threes for Barnes.
The Raptors certainly need to be careful not to crush Barnes' confidence, but if Nurse believes in his rookie it's clear he's showing something in practice that warrants more attention when the lights go on and Barnes takes the court for real.