The Raptors have close to twenty guys currently on the extended roster, but only ten of them have played a game with the team, and only five of them have played as the home team in Scotiabank Arena.
There are a lot of new faces and acquisitions coming to Canada this fall, but how are they likely to pan out? Who will crack the final roster, and even then, who will get rotation minutes? Some of the new additions to the Raptors roster have already started to prove their skill in Summer League, but for the most part, we’re still in a grey area.
Now that we’re into September, let’s send the Raptors’ front office back to school and hand out their offseason report card.
Grading the Raptors offseason acquisitions:
I can still remember the sound of that Barclays Centre crowd all gasping in unison as Masai Ujiri nabbed Barnes with the fourth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Raptors had been projected by nearly every mock draft board around to draft Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs with the No. 4 pick, so it was a bit of a shock when they zagged and took Barnes.
The confusion was instantaneous. Why take a non-shooter with the fourth pick? If not Suggs, who’s going to replace Kyle Lowry in the backcourt? Are they keeping Lowry? How is Barnes going to get minutes with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby in the frontcourt?
Does this mean the team is looking to trade Siakam? How could Barnes, who wasn’t even a starter his one year at Florida State, possibly be a better basketball player than Suggs, who led Gonzaga to a 31-1 record this past year?
The drafting of Barnes was met with some celebration, but mostly a hailstorm of confusion and sometimes disappointment. That was before Summer League.
The Toronto Raptors may have a gem in Scottie Barnes.
During Barnes’ first taste of NBA basketball, he showed the entire league why he deserved to go No. 4 overall. He featured his freakish athleticism as he did everything from taking the opening tip to picking up the other team’s point guard full-court.
He showed his point forward skills, leading the team in assists, and flashed some improvement as a spot-up shooter.
Barnes stuffed the stat sheet with per-36 minute averages of 20.4 points, 2.6 blocks, 1.3 steals, 4.3 assists, and 8.9 rebounds, but mostly Barnes seduced Raptors fans with his infectious personality. He’s played the game with more fire than any other rookie thus far. That, my friends, speaks to bigger things down the road.