3 things the Toronto Raptors can be thankful for in 2023-24 season

The Raptors have a lot going for them in the holiday season.
Portland Trail Blazers v Toronto Raptors
Portland Trail Blazers v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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1. Scottie Barnes emerging

So much of what Toronto is going to do in the immediate and long-term future will be based almost entirely on Barnes and his development. After stagnating in his second season under Nick Nurse, Barnes' performances under Rajakovic have been so tremendous that it's clear to see how he will be an All-Star in the near future.

Barnes is averaging 19.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game on the offensive side of the ball while chipping in 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game on the defensive side of the ball. Barnes is now shooting 38% from 3-point range, showing tangible improvement in one of his biggest areas of weakness last season.

Scottie Barnes is becoming a leader for the Toronto Raptors.

On the defensive end, Barnes has finally started to live up to billing thanks to a more simplified and concrete role. On offense, Barnes has evolved into a solid combination of playmaking, interior muscle, and creativity when he needs a bucket. Even with Siakam in the mix, Barnes has been willing and able to take over in the fourth quarter.

The Raptors will obviously try to win as many games as possible this season, as should always be the primary goal. The secondary goal, however, should be making sure that no matter who is along for the ride when the Raptors move into the future, Barnes is empowered to become the star of the team and can excel consistently in that role.