Scottie Barnes is the sole reason for belief in Raptors after grueling win vs. Hornets

Barnes stole the show once again against Charlotte.

Charlotte Hornets v Toronto Raptors
Charlotte Hornets v Toronto Raptors / Andrew Lahodynskyj/GettyImages
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After fans ripped Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors for refusing to either go all-in on a winner or make some trades to rebuild, nights like Monday's nigh-unwatchable dreck against the Charllote Hornets should give this fanbase some closure as the team fully admits they have no business ever attempting to be a postseason team.

The Hornets came into this game without two of their top scorers in LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, due to various ailments. Charlotte didn't have their starting center in Mark Williams or starting power forward Miles Bridges due to his legal situation. Despite all of that, the Hornets led after three quarters thanks to Terry Rozier and Nick Richards.

The Raptors eventually managed to steady themselves for long enough to pull off a 114-99 victory that was as frustrating to watch as any loss they have this year. Pascal Siakam came alive late, and Gary Trent Jr. was terrific, but Barnes stole the show again.

Barnes wrapped up tonight with 22 points, a career-high 17 rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks in yet another display of his tremendous talent. If this play keeps up, Barnes will force his way into the All-Star Game discussion despite the team's poor record and unusual situation around him.

Scottie Barnes the main reason for Toronto Raptors optimism after win vs. Hornets.

It seems increasingly likely that Siakam is going to be traded at the trade deadline, and OG Anunoby hasn't looked like himself in the last few games. Both Dennis Schroder and Jakob Poeltl are eroding the goodwill they accrued to start the season, and Trent remains the only moderately threatening offensive player on the bench.

Despite all of that, Barnes' play on both ends of the floor has been encouraging enough for Ujiri to go into next season with the thought he could be a player the team can build around. It seems like the only ways this team can score in the half-court are Barnes and Siakam making magic happen or randomly launched 3-pointers from either Trent or Schroder.

Barnes' standout performance this season has come on a team that has the worst collective guard play in the NBA, minimal spacing, and another equally talented forward in Siakam taking responsibility away from him. As the losses pile up and trade rumors grow, Barnes might be handed the keys full-time.

The Raptors have a very tough schedule coming up, with games against the Nuggets and Celtics smacking them in the face before the new year. With very few positives happening around him and the vibes going in the wrong direction, Barnes is the last and best hope this franchise has.

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