The beginning of NBA Summer League play means that Toronto Raptors fans were able to get their first glimpse of Scottie Barnes in red and black. The first opponent Barnes locked horns with was the rival New York Knicks, who brought in a solid haul of talent in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Raptors took home an 89-79 victory over their foes in New York, as Barnes was a huge reason as to why the likes of Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and first-round pick Quentin Grimes were never able to truly get out of neutral in this game.
Barnes might’ve started off a bit slow with some ugly misses, but he stepped on the accelerator from there on out, and his play on both ends of the court has to make Raptors fans extremely excited about what the future holds for a player with his physical gifts.
While it is just one Summer League game, that shouldn’t be used as a way to detract from what Barnes was able to do in his first serious contest in months. Everything that Raptors fans thought he would bring to the table was on full display.
How did Scottie Barnes perform in his first Toronto Raptors game?
Barnes recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block in just over 30 minutes of play. Only Malachi Flynn and his 23 points scored more than Barnes for Toronto.
The only slightly concerning aspect was the fact he shot 7-18 from the field and made just one of his four 3-point attempts. Everything else about what Barnes did was exemplary.
Barnes was a primary playmaker on the offensive end, making key passes both out of post-ups and in transition. Barnes was aggressive in asserting himself on offense, and the fact he was able to hit a few jumpers and create space for himself is very promising.
On defense, Barnes shined, frequently vacillating between defending ball-handling guards and parking himself down in the post to take on bigger foes. He was even capable of plucking the ball away from Luca Vildoza and igniting an easy transition opportunity.
If nothing else, Barnes appears to have legitimate All-Defensive potential.
At the end of the day, Barnes was one of the leading scorers in a convincing win. If Barnes didn’t score a single point, he still would’ve made his presence felt by dominating the glass, showing a high degree of skill on the defensive end, and setting his teammates up with key passes.
Some efficiency issues keep him from earning an A grade, but Raptors fans should be thrilled with what they saw.