Toronto Raptors: Best and Worst case scenarios for 2021 rookies

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 15: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 15: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 29: NBA commissioner Adam Silver (L) and Toronto Raptors pick Scottie Barnes (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

A new season tends to bring hope, excitement, and a whole lot of uncertainty, and the Toronto Raptors‘ upcoming 2021-22 campaign is no exception.

Far from the perennially playoff-bound roster of yesteryear, these Raps carry a more debatable ceiling and a postseason appearance is far from a sure thing.

So, then, what is a reasonable expectation for the Raptors as we head into training camp? The answer to that question will evolve over time. In the meantime, let’s see if we can get a better handle on just what they might be by examining the best and worst-case scenarios of each member of the training camp roster.

It’s time that we look at the upside and downside of Toronto’s rookies a batch that includes several raw players who may need time to develop. Will these rookies end up becoming instant stars, or will they flounder under the weight of their expectations?

Best and worse case scenarios for Toronto Raptors rookies.

Scottie Barnes

1st round, No. 4 overall

It seems that Raptor fans have – for now at least – moved on from the Barnes/Jalen Suggs debate. Whether fans have bought into the former Florida State star’s potential or have simply been won over by the strong first impression he’s made on the city, it’s probably a necessary step forward in seeing just what he is. So, what is he?

Best Case Scenario

You don’t draft a player fourth overall to be just a guy, so Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster, and the Raptors clearly believe in Barnes’ ability to be a star. That means developing a reliable jumper and scoring instincts to complement his limitless defensive potential and high-grade character.

Of course, that’s more of a long-term outlook and certainly too much to ask of a rookie season, let alone a short training camp.

This year, the Toronto Raptors would surely be pleased to see the 20-year-old showcase some offensive skills and gain increasing consistency with his shot. With regards to camp, simply showing he can play against NBA talent and adapt to the speed of the game would get people excited.

The box score stats will be worth watching, but as long as his film shows he is becoming a more aggressive offensive player and perimeter finisher, Toronto can walk away feeling glad about 2021-22 for Barnes. He might even earn a spot in the starting lineup down the line.

Worst Case Scenario

Now, about that shot…

The good news for Barnes is that his defensive calling card should improve his floor. After all, even all-defense, no-offense players like Bruce Bowen and Tony Allen have managed to carve out lengthy, productive NBA careers. The youngster, however, is expected to develop into a franchise building block, so that would not be an ideal outcome.

Scottie Barnes needs to learn how to shoot.

The disaster scenario here is that offensive struggles make Barnes difficult to keep on the court and stifle the club’s scoring. Meanwhile, Suggs jumps out to a blazing start in Orlando and joins Cade Cunningham and others atop the Rookie of the Year race. Bruce Bowen is great, but you don’t use the franchise’s highest pick in 15 years on him.