The Toronto Raptors might not contend for a championship this season, but they should be fun to watch, and the presence of No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes is a huge reason why. The Florida State alum figures to be a huge part of what Toronto does on both sides of the ball during his rookie season.
Barnes’ performances on the court will earn him a great deal of praise, but his personality has immediately helped endear himself to this fanbase. The combination of jovial energy off of the court and ferocious hustle on it has Barnes set up to become one of the more vibrant emotional presences on this team.
While some veterans might be going through the motions and running diagnostics in the preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers, Barnes was so excited to show off in front of the Toronto fans for the first time that he could barely contain himself.
When Goran Dragic was getting introduced as one of the starters in pregame warmups, Barnes was on cloud nine, frantically jumping around before hugging Dragic while screaming his lungs out.
If anything, he might actually be less hyped up than he was before he took the floor. Barnes helped lead the Raptors out of the tunnel by sprinting at full speed. Yeah…Raptors fans will love this guy.
Scottie Barnes is becoming the Toronto Raptors’ hype man.
With Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher both out for the first few weeks of the season, look for Barnes to be given a good load of minutes early in his career. Based on what you saw in the preseason opener, he looks more than capable of handling that increased workload.
Barnes was aggressive shooting the ball, willing to attack the rim with some rim-rattling dunks, and willing to flex his high basketball IQ. It’s becoming clearer why Masai Ujiri took him as high as he did.
This pass to Dragic might not look like a great play from an aesthetic perspective, but his ability to keep his head on a swivel, make an accurate pass, and avoid turning the ball over shows that he should have a smooth transition to the pros.
Barnes may have some poor moments during the regular season, but the talent is obvious and on display. Barnes fits in perfectly with the Raptors’ new length and strength philosophy, and if he clicks on the offensive end, the results could help Toronto climb back to the postseason.