Doc Rivers calls Scottie Barnes “amazing” ahead of Raptors-76ers

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors are gearing up to take on one of their most hated rivals in the Philadelphia 76ers. The clash between a more experienced 76ers team and the youthful exuberance of Toronto might make this one of the more physical matchups on the postseason calendar.

Even though he is just 20 years old, the Rookie of the Year frontrunner is expected to play a vital role in this series. After all, his ability to defend multiple positions and finish inside has been an invaluable weapon for a Raptors team that needs all the help they can get in such a pivotal series.

76ers head coach Doc Rivers has been open about the fact that he is not as involved in the draft as he used to be, but he was taking a long look at Barnes in case Philly received a high lottery pick in the Ben Simmons deal. Doc has been very impressed with what he’s seen from him so far.

“He’s amazing,” Rivers said. “He was good on film, but he’s way better in person…He’s a good player, he doesn’t act like it. If you saw Scottie Barnes and didn’t know he was a rookie, you would swear he’s been in the league for ten years.”  That maturity and composure have been two of the main reasons Barnes has been so dominant.

Scottie Barnes needs to perform for the Toronto Raptors.

Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game during his tenure with the Raptors. However, he was less effective against the 76ers, as he had exactly 13 points in each of his meetings with Philly. Luckily, scoring might be easier to come by in the playoffs.

On top of the fact that the 76ers will likely spend all night trying to figure out how to slow down Pascal Siakam, the impending return of OG Anunoby will make it more difficult for Philly to devote so much attention to Barnes. Matisse Thybulle being ineligible for games in Toronto doesn’t help matters much.

Barnes is not just some ancillary piece. He’s an integral part of Toronto’s scheme on both sides of the ball that Philadelphia needs to take seriously as a threat. With Toronto fully healthy in this series, the best version of Barnes could be unleashed on an unsuspecting 76ers team.

Barnes needs to show that he can finish inside, do his part to slow down Joel Embiid in the paint, and cause havoc on the perimeter in order to counteract Philly’s bench. It’s a tall task, but Barnes has proven himself capable of checking those boxes several times over before.

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