The new season has kicked off nicely. As if automatic, yet another youngster appears to be making that third or fourth-year boom. This time, it’s the Toronto Raptors’ two-way forward, Scottie Barnes.
Here’s Barnes grouping himself alongside legends with his fiery five-game start:
The healthy numbers are being maintained beyond locking the feat. One of the best aspects of the hot run, however, is the versatility. Averaging 22.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game, Barnes is continuing to make noise and boast that he can be a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. His ability to contribute across various statistical categories highlights his all-around impact on the game.
What sets Barnes apart is not just his statistical achievements but also his efficiency. Shooting at an impressive 51.3% from the field, he has demonstrated a remarkable ability to score efficiently, making him a reliable offensive weapon for the Raptors. His improved shooting and decision-making have added a new dimension to his game, making him a nightmare for opposing defenses.
All of those numbers, from points, down to his field goal shooting, are career-bests too.
Up, down, and up again
Barnes was a one-and-done out of the Florida State University, but it was somewhat of a surprise when the Raptors made him the fourth overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. Many expected them to take Gonzaga University’s standout guard, Jalen Suggs, since the team was on the verge of trading franchise point guard Kyle Lowry, which they soon did.
However, opinions quickly changed as Barnes was fast to prove that he’s the rightful selection, so much so that he won Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Raptors back to the postseason.
With that, eyeballs were on Barnes for his second season, all eager to see that leap – the Raptors front office even made him untouchable in the Kevin Durant trade talks.
Sadly, he didn’t make that leap, jump, or any step forward. He stayed the same, and it was arguably a sophomore slump more than anything. Toronto was also just a play-in team at best, and even missed the playoffs.
Then, just when everyone became lukewarm with him, he busted through the gates to remind everyone of what he brings to the table. He’s back up after being down, catching everyone’s attention.
Despite the presence of more established guys like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby on the team, Barnes has emerged as the Raptors’ go-to player. His confidence in clutch situations, coupled with his ability to make crucial plays down the stretch, has earned him the trust of his teammates and coaches alike.
While Siakam and Anunoby continue to be significant contributors, Barnes’ ascension to the role of the main man signifies a new era for the Raptors. His rapid development and stellar performance have not only electrified the fan base but also instilled a sense of hope and optimism for the team’s future. As he continues to hone his skills and gain experience, there is no telling how far Barnes can lead the Raptors in the coming years.
This third-year boom has been a revelation for the Raptors and the entire NBA. As he continues to shine brightly on the court, Barnes could very well prove that he is not just a rising star, he is the future of the Raptors and a huge ray of hope for the team’s rabid fanbase.