The Toronto Raptors needed Scottie Barnes to quickly assimilate to life at the NBA level, and it took him no time at all to find his groove during his rookie season. Barnes confirmed Masai Ujiri’s impeccable scouting instincts while helping a moribund Raptors team get to the playoffs and discover a star.
While Fred VanVleet made history during his All-Star year and Pascal Siakam put together the best individual season of his career, Barnes was arguably the marquee draw on the team. Barnes took home Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game on a team that won 48 games.
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins is not content with just watching Barnes stay the course in his second season. Perk thinks that Barnes should aim for the stars next year and try to reach a rarified air that only a select few in Raptors history have visited.
Perkins thinks that Barnes will be so good next year that he will make his first All-Star team despite the presence of VanVleet and Siakam on the roster. As crazy as that sounds, Barnes is in a position to cement himself as one of the best forwards of any age in the game.
Toronto Raptors: Kendrick Perkins has high hopes for Scottie Barnes.
Barnes will likely be the No. 3 scoring option next season, as Toronto has quite the 1-2 punch in an All-Star point guard like VanVleet and an All-NBA forward like Siakam. For Barnes to take that leap and fulfill Perkins’ wishes, he will need to become a better 3-point shooter.
Barnes connected on just 30% of his 3-point attempts on 2.6 attempts per game. While this is much better than many expected out of him, considering his iffy production at Florida State, shooting like that is going to make it difficult to really take off in the modern NBA.
Luckily for the Raptors, Barnes is already hard at work trying to fix that flaw. If he can clean that up and continue honing the defensive skills that made him such a valued prospect, Barnes should have no trouble stepping on the accelerator and making himself the long-term building block Toronto has envisioned.
Perkins is no stranger to praising what Toronto is building. He can offer some puzzling takes, but he’s consistently a Raptors supporter. His admiration for Barnes is evident, but it’s on Scottie himself to accept Perkins’ challenge and end up at the All-Star festivities in Salt Lake City.