Toronto Raptors got their first glimpse at No. 4 overall selection Scottie Barnes in his Summer League debut against the New York Knicks. While by no means a perfect debut, he did show off plenty of the standout traits that made him a prospect so intriguing to the Raptors that they passed on Jalen Suggs in order to select him.
Barnes figures to be a bit of a work in progress, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. As intriguing as his tools are from a versatility and defense point of view, the Raptors haven’t been shy about acknowledging the fact it might take a year or two before he really blooms.
Despite those concerns, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas seem to think that Barnes could be destined for a historic rookie season. His odds of winning Rookie of the Year are identical to that of Suggs.
Per the latest NBA odds from WynnBet, Barnes has +750 (bet $100 to win $750) odds to win Rookie of the Year, which is tied with Suggs for fourth-best. Cade Cunningham (+210), Jalen Green (+400), and Evan Mobley (+475) rank ahead of him.
Barnes has better odds than Davion Mitchell (+1300), James Bouknight (+1500), and Jonathan Kuminga (+1750). Vegas is optimistic about what Barnes can bring to the table with Toronto.
Will Toronto Raptors youngster Scottie Barnes win Rookie of the Year?
Barnes might find it difficult to start during his rookie year if Pascal Siakam returns from injury sooner than expected. Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Gary Trent Jr. aren’t going anywhere, and Khem Birch will likely be the starting center despite Barnes’ appeal as a positionless player.
While it might take some time to start regularly, if Barnes is able to hit the ground running, there is a chance he surpasses those expectations and moves firmly alongside the top three candidates.
While Rookie of the Year selections tend to favor gaudy offensive production over defensive skill, Barnes could show enough improvement with his ability to create for himself to woo voters into giving him the award over Cunningham or Green, especially if the Raptors surprise some experts and make it close to the postseason.
Due to the fact that Green, Mobley, and Cunningham will be given enhanced scoring roles on teams that will likely be at the bottom of the standings once again, all three of those players will likely take more shots and score more than Barnes.
However, if Barnes’ shooting helps him crack double-digits in scoring per game, and if the Raptors return to the postseason, he may convince enough voters to have a real shot at the crown.