Did Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes deserve Rookie of the Month?

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 26: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 26: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers both appear to have come out of the 2021 NBA Draft with new franchise cornerstones. While the Cavs landed a sensational big man in USC’s Evan Mobley, Toronto picked up a perfect system and culture fit in Florida State switchblade Scottie Barnes.

While Barnes was billed as a very versatile player with tons of potential, he’s already proved some of his doubters wrong by becoming an impact player on the offensive side of the ball. Both a quality interior finisher and improved shooter, Barnes has been an impact player right out of the gate.

While Barnes will almost assuredly contend for the Rookie of the Year award, the league wasn’t as kind to him when they were handing out their Rookie of the Month awards for October and November. Despite how well he played, Barnes was shut out.

Mobley ended up being awarded the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award, while Thunder guard Josh Giddey was the recipient in the Western Conference. While Barnes and Mobley have very similar numbers, Barnes might actually have a slight edge here.

Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes deserved Rookie of the Month.

Barnes had more points, rebounds, steals, and assists per game than Mobley during October and November. He also managed those numbers with players like Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby constantly dominating the ball and taking shots away from him.

Mobley also missed five games in that stretch due to an elbow injury. While Mobley might be on a better team at the moment, it’s clear that Barnes is having a bigger impact on the offensive end while showing off the on-ball defense that made him such a coveted college prospect.

As weird as it may sound, the voters may have been swayed by Mobley’s absence. Cleveland went 0-5 without him in the lineup, and they’ve returned to their winning ways now that he has returned. While Mobley certainly deserves consideration for this award, the impact Barnes has had on Toronto may supersede that of Mobley.

The best way for Barnes to leapfrog Mobley in the standings could be to win a few more games. Voters are seldom inclined to give a player on the East’s 12th-best team an award for individual excellence over a player with similar stats on a playoff team. If Toronto gets some more wins here or there, Barnes could take home December’s award.

Next. NBA Rookie Ladder: Where is Scottie Barnes?. dark