1. Scottie Barnes
There may be better young athletes in Canada at this point, but none of them have become such a devoted fan favorite in such a short span of time. Barnes will be the lynchpin for the Raptors this season, as both the coaching staff and front office are counting on his improvement.
Barnes got off to a good start at Media Day, showing off some much more muscular arms while claiming he can handle more point guard work. We’ve seen glimpses of what he will do at the Rico Hines runs, and now Raptors nation will see the full product on display.
Scottie Barnes could put on a show for the Toronto Raptors.
Topping a season in which Barnes averaged 15.3 points per game while being a force as a rebounder, passer, and defender for a 48-win team will be difficult. Barnes was never going to take that next step unless he evolved his game. Based on the very early returns, he’s sending out tons of encouraging vibes.
Barnes will need to prove to the rest of the world that his shooting improvements are for real and that he can clean up some of the rookie defensive mistakes he made last year. Answering those doubts in the affirmative would solidify him as one of the game’s elite youngsters.