1. Toronto has a star in Scottie Barnes
While young, the reigning Rookie of the Year has proved himself the most talented youngster Canada has seen since the days of Vince Carter. While such lofty aspirations may sound presumptuous, Barnes can conceivably make first-team All-NBA, win MVPs, or even lead a team to the title in the future.
We’re certainly a few years away from any of that, but watching Barnes progress in his sophomore year will give players and fans alike more information about just how special he can be.
Assuming a more prominent playmaking role to end the season, Barnes flashed the kind of size and point guard skills that drew Magic Johnson comparisons. If he can return with a more reliable long-range game this coming season, it’s anyone’s guess at his ceiling as a player.
Scottie Barnes is the future of the Toronto Raptors.
Is it unlikely Scottie Barnes makes First-Team All-NBA? Of course, it is. However, he has checked every single box thus far. He’s blazed so far past the team’s expectations this year that we’re still recalibrating who or what he could be once he hits his prime.
These things are never guaranteed, but future stardom is the closest thing to a sure thing for Barnes as anybody. It seems anticlimactic to proclaim the team’s future prospects so tied to one young player, but for a team lacking that one piece to take them from playoff to title contenders, Scottie is the answer.
Imagine a few years from now. Imagine an All-Star Barnes flanked by a 28-year-old OG Anunoby, Pascal and Fred barely 30, and Trent and Precious Achiuwa entering their primes. That seems like a title contender to me.