Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes officially consigned his rookie season to the annals of NBA history by winning Rookie of the Year. While Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham put up a very good fight, Barnes won out thanks to all of the traits that Masai Ujiri put such a premium on in the NBA Draft.
Barnes earned 48 of the 100 possible first-place votes. Mobley and Cunningham put up quite a fight thanks to their fantastic rookie seasons, but the voters seem to like what Barnes added to Toronto this season. They valued his season just a bit more when looking at the whole picture.
Barnes came to Toronto as a raw Florida State Seminole that was billed as an offensive liability and he’s left his rookie season as the best player from his individual class. Considering the shock and horror that gripped Toronto when Jalen Suggs was bypassed, Barnes has shut up all the haters.
Justice was served when Barnes became the third Raptors player in franchise history to take home this prestigious honor. Despite some terrific individual performances from Mobley and Cunningham, Barnes’ production stands atop both of them when pitted against one another.
Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes deserved Rookie of the Year
3. His two-way skill
Mobley, Cunningham, and Barnes are all excellent defenders. Mobley can protect the rim with the best of them and Cunningham’s frame has helped him become a dynamic perimeter pest. When combining his defensive responsibilities and his offensive duties, Barnes has more on his plate.
Barnes is defending all five positions with regularity and making a name for himself as both a small-ball center and a backup point guard when Fred VanVleet is out of commission. It’s rare for most starting forwards to have that much on their plate, let alone a 20-year-old.
Scottie Barnes does so much for the Toronto Raptors.
Barnes started the season off as just a rim-runner, but he’s quickly shown comfort with taking and making some big 3-pointers and setting up the offense as a primary ball-handler. Juggling those duties and playing some solid on-ball defense takes a ton of talent and feel for the game.
Barnes will need to make some major strides in his game before he can be considered an elite talent, but he can at least take solace in the fact that he has more in his toolbox than Mobley and Cunningham right now. The voters seem to agree that Barnes’ ability to dominate on both ends gave him the edge.