How Raptors’ Scottie Barnes Is Making Instant Impact In NBA Career

Scottie Barnes
NBA Analysis Network

When it was announced that the Toronto Raptors selected Florida State forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, people were stunned. Many assumed they would select Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, who was selected with the following pick by the Orlando Magic.

Once Kyle Lowry departed for the Miami Heat, landing in South Beach via sign-and-trade, it confused people even more. Toronto now had a void to fill at the point guard position, while the No. 4 pick in the draft plays the same position as their lone All-Star, Pascal Siakam.

It led to some trade rumors swirling around Siakam, but he has remained with the team thus far. He hasn’t played in a game yet as he recovers from shoulder surgery, which has led to some up-and-down performances to begin the season for Toronto.

The Raptors are 4-3 to start the season as they have been a little inconsistent offensively. They are 15th in offensive rating, as they have two blowout victories they scored at least 115 points in. In two of their losses, they scored 95 and 83 points.

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Getting Siakam back into the fold will help lessen the inconsistencies, but Barnes has done an excellent job picking up the slack. He has made an immediate impact on the team, producing on both ends of the court.

Coming out of Florida State, you knew Barnes would have excellent two-way potential. Leonard Hamilton always has disciplined defensive teams, but no one is ever sure how they will translate offensively to the next level. Barnes was lauded for his point-forward skills but wasn’t always assertive when looking to score the ball.

The Raptors coaching staff must have done something to change that, as Barnes is currently second on the team, scoring 18.1 points per game. He is doing it efficiently as well, making 55.1 percent of his shot attempts. His 3-point shot is still a work in progress, but if he can score like that on 2-point attempts, the Toronto Raptors will take it.

He has also lived up to the playmaking hype thus far, averaging 2.0 assists per game, which is also tied for second on the team. The 8.9 rebounds per game he is averaging? You guessed it, also second on the team.

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Just how big of an impact is Barnes having on the team? Their net rating drops by 5.1 when Barnes is off the court compared to when he is on it. Their assist percentage and pace pick up with Barnes on the bench, but all of their other numbers decrease across the board.

It is a small sample size, but Scottie Barnes should be making believers out of his doubters sooner than later.