The Toronto Raptors have emphatically planted their flag on Scottie Barnes island this offseason. The hiring of Darko Rajakovic and the decision to part ways with Fred VanVleet will likely lead to an enhanced role for the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year and springy young high-flyer.
While Barnes took a big step forward as a playmaker and made incremental steps forward as a defender, the fact his scoring was identical to what he put up as a rookie has led to concerns about his ceiling. Can he truly become a franchise player with flaws like that in his game?
The Raptors trust that Barnes can keep improving, which will require a touch of Rajakovic’s trademark developmental magic and Barnes’ internal improvement. While this is far from a guarantee, the Raptors will make sure that he has every tool at his disposal to give it a try.
If the Raptors give Barnes the starting point guard role and continue to insist that Dennis Schroder will be the team’s Sixth Man, Rajakovic could help set the stage for a Scottie breakout. Making good on these three goals could be one way for Barnes to show signs he is ready to assume a bigger role for this team.
3 realistic goals for Toronto Raptors young star Scottie Barnes.
Average six assists per game
Barnes played point guard in high school and in college at Florida State, so it stands to reason that he will not have too much trouble taking on a similar role in the 2023-24 season with the Raptors. VanVleet is a more refined playmaker, but Barnes’ potential may exceed that of his former teammate.
Barnes’ instincts, especially in transition, are phenomenal. When paired with the physical traits needed to make passes from unusual angles, he should have no issue getting the ball to Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. in advantageous situations. 6.0 assists per game seems fair for how much he’ll be on-ball.
Scottie Barnes needs to lead the Toronto Raptors in assists.
While Ja Morant is an entirely different player, the fact that Rajakovic helped contribute to a system that made him one of the league’s premier assist men in Memphis should give Raptors fans hope that Barnes can become one of the best young passers in the game.
While it is difficult for anyone to emulate the development of Siakam, he went from an offensive black hole to someone who was trusted to bring the ball up very often. Barnes is coming into the league with a stronger basic well of raw talent, which could produce a better point guard.