Scottie Barnes’ career night should send Raptors a message

Feb 28, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors may have entered their tussle with the rival Brooklyn Nets deprived of both Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby due to injuries, but they still had a solid chance to pull out a victory. With Scottie Barnes ready to take on a bigger role against a Nets team struggling with injuries, Toronto was willing to let the youngster take over.

Barnes started the second half with a new career-high against the Hornets by amassing 28 points. However, most of those buckets came when defeat was already ensured late in the game. from the very second the game tipped off, Barnes made sure that he was one of the main reasons Toronto was going to be victorious.

In a 133-97 win against a Nets squad missing their four best players and head coach Steve Nash, the Rookie of the Year candidate put up numbers that look like they came from a video game. Barnes tied his career-best mark of 28 points while hauling in an absurd 16 rebounds (nine of which were offensive).

In the first half, Barnes put up 24 points and made all 10 of his shots.

Just for good measure, Barnes recorded five steals and dished out four assists. This game should be a lesson for the Raptors’ coaching staff. As long as Anunoby is hurt and VanVleet is recovering, give Barnes the ball and get out of his way until someone stops him.

81. 97. 147. Final. 133

Scottie Barnes put on a show for the Toronto Raptors.

Even in this game, Barnes found himself working overtime to get as many shots as he did. With eight offensive rebounds, a large portion of his shots near the end of the second quarter were putbacks. While that should unquestionably remain part of his offensive arsenal, Scottie is deserving of more attention on offense than that.

Barnes was making 3-pointers, running the break in transition well, and putting on an absolute clinic as a passer. Barnes often gets relegated to the fifth scoring option in the healthy Toronto offense, but nights like this show that regarding him as an ancillary offensive option can be foolish.

The rebounding and defensive numbers are gaudy enough, showing that Barnes is still making things happen in other phases of the game. If the worry is that his effectiveness elsewhere will be blunted because of increased offensive responsibility, that argument appears to fall flat.

Barnes may not have been going against the Bad Boy Pistons in this game, but he was the reason Toronto started to hot and sustained their dominant play so late into the game. Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. combined to go 5-24 in this game, yet Barnes was able to carry the load.

Barnes is clearly a huge part of what Toronto wants to do in the long-term future, but he needs to be a major part of the Raptors’ offense with Anunoby out and VanVleet hobbled. With arguably his best game as a professional coming against a division rival and play-in contender, Barnes showed Nick Nurse what happens when he leans on him.

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