The Toronto Raptors have been buoyed by the standout performance of rookie Scottie Barnes, as a player that came into the league with some questions about his offense has already shown to be one of the very best rookies in the game. Those skills were on full display in an impressive win against the New York Knicks.
Barnes’ offensive ceiling was a bit of a question mark coming into the league, but he was billed as a player that could contribute in basically every other facet of the game. His ability to defend, pass, and rebound helped make him a valued prospect despite his inefficiency concerns.
Barnes has had some truly exceptional night for the Raptors, as evidenced by his 25-point, 13-rebound night in his second career game against Boston. In the win against the Knicks, however, Barnes did something that no Raptors rookie since the great Tracy McGrady had accomplished.
Barnes recorded 12 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks. McGrady was the only other rookie in team history to hit those benchmarks in one game. There must be something in the water down in central Florida.
Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes continues to impress.
Barnes’ scoring has taken a slight downward turn now that Pascal Siakam has returned to the lineup, but Scottie pulling off a performance like this proves that he can be a consistent contributor in a variety of ways when he isn’t being tasked with a gigantic scoring load.
Barnes’ rebounding has been astonishing for a player that is hanging around the perimeter for a good chunk of his minutes. 3.3 assists per game might not sound like an awe-inspiring number, but he is improving his assist rate with Siakam being able to finish off some of his passes on the interior.
In case you were worried that the return of Siakam would neuter Barnes and his ability to make highlight-reel plays, those fears can be put to rest. Look no further than a jaw-dropping play against New York in which he took the ball coast-to-coast for a breakaway slam while only taking four dribbles.
While he faces some stern competition from Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham, Barnes is a viable contender for the Rookie of the Year award. If he keeps putting up performances like these, he could become the third player in team history to win the award after Vince Carter and Damon Stoudamire.