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Scottie Barnes is a basketball oddity.

In a league full of players constantly clamoring for more shots and more opportunities, Barnes is different. He's content doing the little things. Passing? He loves it. Setting screens? Why not. At times it's as if scoring is almost a chore.

What do you think about when you catch the ball one reporter asked Barnes following Friday morning's Toronto Raptors shootaround.

"It depends on what I see. If I see the floor spaced, if I want to go right into the next action, try to get more ball screens, more movement, depends on how the game is flowing," Barnes responded. "Just try to set a pace early and throughout the game of how we want the ball moving back and forth."

Notice what's absent from that answer? At no point does Barnes make mention of a desire to score. It's as if he catches the ball and processes every option aside from scoring. And therein lies the problem for Barnes.

Opposing teams are picking up on Barnes' pass-first instincts and lackluster shooting ability. He ranks as the NBA's worst mid-range shooter considering the volume of shots he's taking (1.7 attempts per game) and teams have decided to sag off of him, daring him to shoot from outside the paint, while clogging the passing lanes as if playing 5-on-4 defense.

It's created some confusion for Barnes who spent the better part of three and a half quarters trying — and failing — to solve the Milwaukee Bucks' drop defense. It wasn't until the 6:45 mark of the fourth quarter that Barnes finally got going, converting a dunk over Brook Lopez that opened the floodgates to some far more aggressive offense.

"That's me waiting too long," Barnes admitted Friday. "I just got to be able to attack that one differently for sure. But if they're daring me to take shots, it's just still trying to get ball movement, find better floor spacing, try to move it side to side, but still got to try to be able to take those aggressive looks and be able to go downhill."

Figuring out that balance is as much a mental hurdle as anything. Do you take the shot the defense wants you to take because you're wide open or try to do something else, also playing right into the defense's hands?

Right now, Barnes isn't entirely sure. He's been reluctant to take those mid-range jumpers, understandably, but his lack of aggression against the drop coverage has exacerbated Toronto's offensive shortcomings. 

"If they're gonna sit back, you kind of need to use that like a runway and just take off downhill at ‘em and go a few times," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said earlier in the week.

Barnes is learning that. He wants to play at his pace, move the ball, and get others involved. It's that point-guard pass-first identity that made him such an intriguing and versatile prospect. But sometimes the Raptors need him to just go, attack, and be assertive.

"It's gonna be a little bit of a process," said Fred VanVleet. "He's figuring it out."

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