When the Toronto Raptors drafted Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, some media talking heads weren’t quite sure what to make of him. While he had all the athleticism in the world, his unusual physical profile had some decision-makers wondering if he is an oversized point guard or traditional power forward.
The Florida State alum has been doing a little bit of everything to start his professional career, and the results have been electrifying. Barnes has averaged 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game, all while leading the Raptors to a 3-3 start without Pascal Siakam.
In a season where development is being prioritized, Barnes has made rapid strides in just a handful of games. Where others thought Toronto was getting a raw lump of clay, Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse were getting a player that could contribute right away while improving the finer points of his game.
Based on what we saw during his time at Florida State and what he’s done in his time as a member of the Toronto Raptors, Barnes is already making some serious improvements to his game in key areas.
3 areas where Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes is getting better.
The only reason there was any doubt about Barnes’ projection as a pro was due to his shooting, as he averaged just 10.3 points per game in college. A majority of those looks coming at the rim. Barnes needs to get that straightened out if he’s going to reach his full potential, but he appears to be on his way there.
Barnes may not be prime Dirk Nowitzki just yet, but he has made 25% of his 3-point attempts so far. The big improvement, however, has been with his mid-range game, as he looks confident spotting up, shooting off the dribble, and making contested shots. He has 12 made jumpers outside of the paint this season.
Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes is working on his jump shot.
The Raptors’ biggest weakness as a team right now is shooting, specifically from 3-point range. While Barnes likely won’t take such a dramatic step forward that he could fully patch that hole, he could be a big piece of how Toronto overcomes this issue.
Barnes is a jump shot away from becoming Toronto’s secondary offensive option with a shot at eventually becoming the primary option. This won’t come overnight, but considering what some experts thought he would be on the offensive end as a rookie, this is a step in the right direction.