The Toronto Raptors have hitched their wagon to the unique skillset of Scottie Barnes, hoping that his ability to vacillate between the role of traditional post player and oversized point guard will bring them the NBA’s proverbial treasure chest of spoils. After a few preseason games, Barnes hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.
Barnes, like many of the starters, hasn’t looked like himself through four preseason games. While many were willing to just chalk it up to preseason rust that can impact even the most dominant players, Nick Nurse revealed that Barnes has a medical reason for his volatile play.
Nurse told TSN that Barnes was shut down for three weeks prior to training camp thanks to an ankle injury. This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Scottie deal with an ankle ailment, as that is the same injury that rendered him inactive for most of their playoff series against the 76ers.
According to Nurse, Barnes is “playing a little bit of catch-up” and the team needs to keep “plugging away” in order to get him back to maximum efficiency. Barnes should be ready to go by the time the regular season comes around, but this is still not the most encouraging news.
Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes must get healthy
Barnes has turned the ball over with alarming frequency in the preseason, failed to connect on a single 3-point shot, and shot just 36% from the field. If Barnes is playing t about 70% due to his ailments, that would be a perfectly acceptable excuse for these performances.
Barnes spent all offseason working on his shooting, explosion, and passing. An ankle injury would understandably make it tough to be as quick as he needed to be. At least the injury is minor enough to where he can soldier on playing with it and doesn’t need any sort of procedure.
The Raptors need to be extremely careful with how this injury is handled. Whatever means the team needs to use to get him operating at 100% effectiveness needs to be implemented. Be that added minutes to help him get back in the swing of things or resting it until the regular season, no stone should be left unturned.
The Raptors know that Barnes is their golden goose for the future and that they won’t do much damage if he isn’t able to replicate or exceed what he did last season. At least his conditioning issues are coming in the preseason rather than a crucial March stretch against division rivals.