The Toronto Raptors' fanbase was dealt a major shotgun blast to the chest when it was announced that standout rising star Scottie Barnes was not going to be named to the 2024 NBA All-Star Game despite the fact his production would signal an easy ride to the heralded festivities.
Barnes' case was clearly impacted by the fact he was playing on a losing team and suiting up in a smaller basketball market. However, at the eleventh hour, Barnes took his place among the best in the game after injuries to Julius Randle and Joel Embiid left two vacant spots to be filled in the East.
Barnes and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young were named as the injury replacements for Randle and Embiid by Commissioner Adam Silver. The Raptors may not have had a ton to smile about in the last few months, but Barnes' nod is something everyone in this fanbase can feel good about.
Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes named to 2024 NBA All-Star Game
For the third consecutive season in a row, the Raptors are sending a player to the All-Star Game. Barnes will follow in Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam's footsteps, as they were named to the 2022 and 2023 games, respectively. Barnes' production puts him right up there with both of those hallowed names.
Barnes is averaging 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game this season while making 48% of his shots and 36.5% of his 3-pointers on a respectable volume. With 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks per gane. Barnes' defensive improvement has been noteworthy and game-changing.
Barnes became the first member of the 2021 NBA Draft to be named to an All-Star team, beating out more hyped prospects like Detroit's Cade Cunningham and Cleveland's Evan Mobley. Not bad for a player who was a draft day surprise when Masai Ujiri picked him over Jalen Suggs.
Scottie's development from a toolsy forward into a do-it-all cornerstone has been the one positive fans can take away from this brutal season. If he keeps this level of play up, this All-Star weekend may not be the only one he participates in.