Toronto Raptors sensation Scottie Barnes may have become the talk of the NBA town during a debut season that culminated with a Rookie of the Year award, but he is well aware of how cutthroat the NBA can be. Last season means nothing to a league looking to take him down a peg.
While many expected Barnes and the Raptors to learn on the fly as they started fresh with a young team last year, winning 48 games is a good way to make sure that Toronto heads into 2022-23 with the expectation of being a competitive team. Barnes will be a huge part of what they’re trying to do.
In an Eastern Conference that is as deep and talented as it has been in years, Barnes and the Raptors need to make every single game count if they want to end up as a contender. Scottie knows the steep expectations that have been placed on him, and he’s not running from them.
In an interview with Swish Cultures, Barnes placed an emphasis on “growing each area of the game” in his sophomore season, with being “able to score at all three levels” of the utmost importance for him. If he makes good on those goals, an All-Star might not be too outrageous.
Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes has high expectations.
Averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game as a rookie should help Barnes move into rarified territory as a second-year player. Very few players his age have been heralded to the degree he has. Now it’s on him to continue getting better and avoiding stagnation.
Barnes made just under 70% of his shots within five feet of the rim. Fantastic! He also made only 30% of his attempts from 3-point range, which is less than exemplary for someone who profiles as a star. He’s put in the work needed to improve in this area at the Rico Hines runs.
Barnes is in a little bit of an awkward situation, as he needs to somehow take on an increased workload without completely disrupting what All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet and All-NBA star Pascal Siakam are doing offensively. If he finds that perfect balance, he’ll blow past his rookie numbers.
Barnes’ potential is clear and obvious to even the most milquetoast of NBA fans, and Toronto has placed a ton of their time and energy into making sure that his reservoir of talent is fully drained. If you call yourself a Raptors fan and you’re not giddy at the thought of Barnes with a bigger offensive role, check your pulse.