The Toronto Raptors are expecting big things from Scottie Barnes despite the fact that he just turned 21 years old a few days ago. Even if it doesn’t come this season, Barnes will be expected to overtake Pascal Siakam as this franchise’s top scorer and eventual leader.
Even after winning Rookie of the Year and averaging 15.3 points per game, more is expected out of Barnes in 2021-22. Even though he was fifth on the team in shots attempted per game, Nick Nurse will likely need to see that number grow now that he’s one year older. Barnes is hard at work improving his game.
Rico Hines, a renowned player development guru who has spent the last few years affiliated with the Kings, brought Barnes and Siakam to his famous summer runs. Alongside names like James Harden, Barnes started to show glimpses of how good he is going to be in the NBA.
Barnes put on a masterclass at the Hines runs, showing that he is willing to be more aggressive and assertive on the offensive end during his second season in the league. Picking up that trait could be a game-changer for a Raptors team tying their future success directly to him.
Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes looks better this summer.
While Barnes performed to be much better than anyone thought he would be offensively as a rookie, a good chunk of his points came on dunks and putbacks near the rim. Adding to that with a more diverse game away from the basket is only going to make him even harder to defend.
According to Barnes’ personal trainer, the Seminole alum has already bulked up to 235 pounds while staying at around 6% body fat. On a Raptors team that is going to ask him to defend some of the biggest and strongest names in the game, adding that weight is essential.
While Hines’ runs aren’t exactly being played at NBA speed, the fact that Barnes is impressing in a scrimmage that features so many heavyweights should go to show that his sophomore season has the potential to be even better than his historically good rookie year.
Barnes looks like he has a better jump shot, a handle that is higher and more effective, and a will to score the basketball that it didn’t look like he had last year. All of these factors should contribute to an even better sophomore season from the mercurial Barnes.