Scottie Barnes: what you need to know about this upcoming star￼
All eyes are on Barnes as he dribbles his way to victory
by amir said, contributor
Scottie Barnes is one of the most exciting players not only for the Toronto Raptors, but arguably in the entire NBA. His recent title of Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month further distinguishes him as one of the most impactful rookies this season, and a serious contender for Rookie of the Year among other future titles such as all-star, and potentially even MVP.
Barnes was a controversial choice prior to the season. He was drafted with the fourth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors on July 29, 2021; critics felt that he was not the right fit for the team as opposed to other potential players. However, upon first setting foot on the court against the Washington Wizards on October 20, Barnes showcased his skill and silenced critics with 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 assist. For a first-time player, those are highly impressive numbers. He continued to wow fans, getting 25 points and 13 rebounds against the Boston Celtics on October 22, just two days later.
Before coming to the NBA, he played for Florida State University, where he earned such honors as All-Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year and McDonald’s All-American. In addition, he earned three International Basketball Federation gold medals playing for the US national team. As a player for the Toronto Raptors, he is currently averaging 14.9 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, and 3.3 assists per game – for a 20-year-old rookie with only 55 games under his belt, these are remarkable numbers and will surely continue to rise as Barnes grows. Having just been named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, Barnes’s talent continues to bear fruit for him and his team.
Barnes’s main concern at the moment is his three-point percentage, even though he is already an excellent player. His shooting will need to improve to fully round him out as a player because he is only making 31% of three-pointers. His performance at the 2022 all-star weekend clutch challenge, though it occurred recently, is already mired in infamy among not only Raptors fans, but NBA fans as a whole. He delivered what is considered by many to be the worst performance at the event by missing four layups. In spite of this, he maintained his signature positive demeanor during and after his performance, knowing full well that this was just a small hiccup in an otherwise fruitful season.
In terms of ranking, he is considered to be the second-best rookie in the league right now, with Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers holding the top spot on the ladder (for now). Barnes ranks higher in terms of points-per-game and assists, with Mobley sitting at 14.5 and 2.5 respectively, while Mobley’s rebound stat is higher at 7.5 per game. The race for Rookie of the Year is far from over though – and with how close the two front-runners are, only time will tell who will end up winning. Barnes is making a serious case for the title though, and as a diehard Raptors fan, I admit to some degree of bias when saying that he ought to win.
Overall, Scottie Barnes continues to be one of the focal points of the 2021-22 Toronto Raptors roster – and as he continues to grow and break new barriers, there’s no telling where his career will take him. Hopefully he continues making Toronto and Canada as a whole proud with his impeccable performance.