Raptors forward Scottie Barnes has playing his best pro basketball yet for Toronto this season, but the club still needs to determine how to maximize his unique skill set, opines Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.
Grange notes that Barnes has shown marked growth following an at-times disengaged sophomore season in 2022/23. Barnes’ multifaceted game and positional flexibility make him an intriguing young star in the making, albeit one who needs well-curated help to flourish.
“[His versatility] is good but at the same time it’s a problem because he has so many traits, so many things that he can do on a higher level,” head coach Darko Rajakovic said.
Through 15 games this season, Barnes is averaging 19.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.3 BPG.
There’s more out of Toronto:
- Former Raptors GM Jeff Weltman was let out of his contract with Toronto in order to assume the mantle of Magic team president in 2017. In the intervening seasons, it’s become clear that Weltman is taking a lot of the lessons he learned under the tutelage of Raptors president Masai Ujiri to heart, writes Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca. Murphy sees several parallels between the constructions of both rosters. When drafting, both teams prioritize size and length, forgoing normal conceptions of position in favor of athletes with epic wingspans. That said, Eric Koreen of The Athletic opines that the Raptors’ forwards aren’t getting enough personnel help elsewhere from the front office.
- When the Raptors appeared to be slipping early in the 2023/24 season, All-Star power forward Pascal Siakam did his best to steer the club away from a possible return to the bad vibes of last year’s lottery team, writes Koreen in a separate piece. Siakam’s aggressive and prolific play has helped paper over some careless in-game errors from his teammates, Koreen notes.
- Raptors forwards Thaddeus Young and Precious Achiuwa are both questionable to play in Friday’s matchup against the Bulls, reports Murphy (Twitter link). Young has an illness, while Achiuwa is dealing with a knee injury.