The Toronto Raptors put a great deal of responsibility for their future plans on Scottie Barnes, as the Florida State standout was taken No. 4 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft with the expectation that his ability to become a star on both ends of the court will start to emerge in the near future.
While some fans were initially shocked when Barnes was selected over Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, he has quickly won fans over, both with his high-energy style of play on the court and his gregarious personality. Even with those positives, his role going into the season looked a bit mysterious.
Based on the latest comments from Nick Nurse during Raptors media day, however, Toronto not only sounds willing to give Barnes a good chunk of minutes during his debut in the NBA, but they are going to designated Barnes as a key contributor that will play an important role on both sides of the ball.
Nurse claims that Barnes’ role with the team is “going to be huge” this season, saying that they will give him as many minutes as he can handle early in his career. Nurse also hinted that his shot mechanics “look really good”, which is exactly the type of stuff you want to hear about Barnes considering his flaws in college.
The Toronto Raptors are ready to unleash Scottie Barnes.
Pascal Siakam might be recovering from his injury at an encouraging pace, but he might miss some time to start the season. While Chris Boucher figured to be the starter in his stead, Barnes could easily slide into that role until Siakam returns to full strength based on Nurse’s comments.
Barnes’ Summer League play showed that his defensive skills can change the course of a game, and while he didn’t turn into prime Steph Curry, the willingness to spot up from 3-point range with an aesthetically pleasing jump shot should give Toronto confidence that he can replicate his success in Vegas.
The Raptors seem to be of the mindset that the more time Barnes spends on the court, the faster he can improve upon some of the flaws in his game and accentuate his strengths. Expect to see a ton of No. 4 on the floor in crunch time.
While Barnes is far behind the likes of Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green in the Rookie of the Year race, the fact that he has apparently been promised a consistent helping of minutes and offensive duties could help change hearts and minds.