Raptors will give Scottie Barnes every shot to reach ceiling

VICTORIA—Scottie Barnes, it’s broadly assumed, is destined for NBA greatness, a burgeoning all-star who nonetheless has numerous room to develop in spite of a stellar rookie season with the Raptors.

What he wishes to do isn’t precisely quantifiable — every side of his recreation may just use a minimum of a little bit paintings — neither is it imaginable to expect when he will get to that subsequent stage. But he’s headed in that path, all agree.

“It’s early. It will happen,” Fred VanVleet mentioned of Barnes’s ascent to true stardom. “It sucks for the fans and it will suck for you guys (the media), because nobody knows when it’s going to happen, but we all see the star power … Whatever he wants to be, he can be. We’ll see how it plays out.”

The explanation why such a lot of see such promise within the 21-year-old Barnes is that the baseline he established because the 2021-22 NBA rookie of the 12 months used to be so prime. He used to be a bodily presence, willingly guarded all over the place the ground, and his paintings ethic didn’t waver because the grind of the longest, hardest season of his existence grew more difficult.

He may have shot extra successfully from the fringe, however that’s a teachable ability that takes time — and turns out to be coming alongside neatly.

“I would say it feels like it’s better, and he’s making more in the rhythm of what we’re doing,” trainer Nick Nurse mentioned. “He’s not hesitating to take them at all, the threes.

“He’s still doing the rest of the stuff. He’s got that long, slow, strong drive where he puts it in the basket. He’s got that pull-up thing when he has a size advantage. But the frequency with which he’s letting them go is certainly on the rise.”

It’s some other software Barnes has, and some other that might use some polishing.

“I think that we were all talking about ‘What’s his ceiling?’ … And for me, (if) he continues to play as hard and competes as hard as he can, all that stuff … he’ll just keep heading towards that ceiling,” Nurse mentioned right here Friday.

“I think it’s a challenge. Kid played hard last year and the kid competed last year, and can you continue to do that each time the ball goes up?”

What does Scottie Barnes do for an encore after winning NBA rookie of the year? The Raptors expect even more.

To make certain, there have been a couple of moments closing season when coaches and teammates grew a little exasperated with him. That’s now not unexpected — all newcomers reduce to rubble right here and there — however the workforce sees such greatness in Barnes that they’re extra tough than they may well be with every other teen, a minor piece of a just right workforce. And now, in his 2d season, they’re extra trusting.

“He earned it,” VanVleet mentioned. “Early on, it took a little bit of learning. Coach definitely pulled him a couple times quick. Coach had a couple conversations with him. I only had one with him; that’s all I needed to have.

“For us to rely on him to win us games last year as a rookie, that’s special. We’ll just see how he grows from here and continues to get better, but he’s earned the trust.”

Barnes does really feel the accountability in spite of his relative inexperience. It used to be hammered house repeatedly in his rookie season.

“I remember a lot of times during the season and (Nurse) was just saying ‘Go, go, go,’” Barnes mentioned. “He was just giving me a lot of confidence. Even times where I was looking to pass, him … saying ‘go’ just made me be really aggressive.

“I will say that helped a lot … just really gave me confidence on the floor to just go be aggressive, attack. Be fearless.”

It will proceed because the season unfolds, beginning with Sunday’s exhibition opener in Edmonton towards the Utah Jazz.

“They allowed me to be who I am: picked up full court, allowed me to play freely on the defensive end as well as the offensive end,” Barnes mentioned.

“Being able to go and attack, and them giving me that confidence … I think it was a perfect fit here, and I’m just blessed to be in this position.”


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