Toronto Raptors: Grading Scottie Barnes’ preseason debut

Sep 27, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

If any Toronto Raptors fans still had doubts or misgivings over the addition of Scottie Barnes, the sensational young forward did everything he can to quiet the naysayers with a sublime performance against the Philadelphia 76ers in Toronto’s preseason opener.

Coming out of college from Florida State as the ACC freshman and the Sixth Man of the Year, Barnes was selected fourth overall in the 2021 NBA draft by the Raptors. Many fans, including myself, thought that the Raptors would select Jalen Suggs. Toronto opted for Barnes, and he has quickly been a fan favorite.

The Toronto Raptors played their first game in Scotiabank Arena for the first time after February of 2020, precisely 582 days. The Raptors were shorthanded without Gary Trent Jr, Chris Boucher, Khem Birch, and Pascal Siakam.

This set the stage perfectly for Barnes to come out and exhibit his full range of talents.  Although it is only a preseason game, there were a lot of positives and plenty of things to be excited about over the course of this season.

Preseason debut grade for Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes.

For a rookie playing in their first game, what more can you ask for? Barnes was one rebound shy from a double-double with 13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists on 60% shooting.

That’s not even all. On the defensive end, Barnes had three steals and two blocks. Looking beyond the box score stats, Barnes showcased the defensive versatility that Toronto valued in him by getting some reps as a post defender and some time near the perimeter. Incredible.

In 25 minutes, Barnes was third on the team for points behind Justin Champagnie and OG Anunoby, second in assists behind Fred VanVleet. and second in rebounds behind Champagnie. He was tied for first in steals and blocks, putting a cherry on top of what was a magnificent debut.

Scottie’s best play of the game was definitely his dunk while being guarded by Danny Green. I’m not comparing him to Giannis Antetokounmpo, but if this play didn’t at least remind you of Giannis from an aesthetic point of view, then I have no idea what to tell you.

Scottie assisted the first bucket for the Toronto Raptors, where he passed the ball to the cutting Goran Dragic. He also made an insane no-look pass to Yuta Watanabe for a dunk. The playmaking and awareness that Barnes showed on the court, for a rookie, is astonishing.

Everyone had high expectations for Barnes coming into today’s game, and it is safe to say he hasn’t only met them, but he exceeded them. The energy he brought to today’s game is truly phenomenal, both on and off the court. The kid has a bright future.

Grade: A

Next. 3 players who must step up without Boucher. dark