Scottie Barnes

Barnes, Cunningham, Mobley Head All-Rookie Team

Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner and Jalen Green comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley were all unanimous selections, receiving the maximum total of 200 points each. Wagner received 183 points, followed by Green with 158. Strangely, one media member left Wagner off their ballot completely, as he received 99 of 100 possible votes.

Raptors wing Barnes, who narrowly edged Cavaliers big man Mobley for the Rookie of the Year award, ranked third in points (15.3) and rebounds (7.5) among all rookies, and fifth in assists (3.5). Mobley was fifth in points (15.0) and led all first-year players in rebounds (8.3) and blocks (1.67) per game.

Pistons guard Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, was first among rookies in points (17.4), second in assists (5.6) and fifth in rebounds (5.5). Magic forward Wagner also had a great year, averaging 15.4 points (fourth among rookies), 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 79 games. Rockets guard Green finished the season strong, scoring 20+ points in 17 of his last 25 games on his way to averaging 17.3 points, second among first-year players.

Pelicans defensive ace Herbert Jones (123 votes) and Thunder floor general Josh Giddey (122 votes) headline the Second Team. Jones averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals (first among rookies) and should at least receive votes for an All-Defensive nod, even if he doesn’t end up making one of the two teams.

In addition to averaging 12.5 points, Giddey was second among rookies in rebounds (7.8) and first in assists (6.4), but he only appeared in 54 of 82 games, having missed the final 23 contests with a hip injury, which is likely why he didn’t receive more First Team votes.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Rookie First Team:

2021/22 All-Rookie Second Team:

Ten other rookies received votes — you can view the full voting results right here. Among the group that missed the cut, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (47) was just behind Duarte, with Kings guard Davion Mitchell (28) the only other player receiving a significant number of votes.

And-Ones: Cotton, 2021 Re-Draft, Pro Days, G League Camp

Veteran guard Bryce Cotton, the top player in Australia’s National Basketball League, isn’t planning a return to the NBA. The Perth Wildcats have reached a contract extension agreement with the three-time NBL MVP, Sportando’s Dario Skerletic reports. Cotton, 29, averaged 22.7 PPG and 4.8 APG last season. He played a total of 23 games for Utah, Phoenix and Memphis from 2014-16.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • How would last year’s draft look if it were held now? The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie explores that topic, ranking those players on how they performed this year, whether they can improve upon their weaknesses and how they figure to grow and mature. The top five, in order, would be Cade Cunningham, Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Franz Wagner, Vecenie says.
  • The NBA has sent memo to teams informing them that agency Pro Days will only be permitted during two windows — the week of the NBA Combine from May 16-21 and in Southern California from May 25-27, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets.
  • The NBA G League Elite Camp will have workouts May 16-17 in Chicago and the Combine will run workouts from May 18-20, Adam Zagoria tweets.

Raptors Notes: Barnes, Offseason, Young, Achiuwa

The Raptors were unable to complete a historic comeback after falling behind 3-0 in their first-round series with the Sixers, getting blown out in the second half of Thursday’s Game 6. Still, Toronto exceeded expectations this season, having come into the year as a projected lottery team.

“I think we took a lot of steps,” standout forward Pascal Siakam said after Thursday’s loss, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. “We got a lot better over the season. It was obviously up and down, but we did get better. Knowing this team and our front office and the people that we have in the organization, I know that the goal is to continue to get better and improve and be a way better team next year.”

Besides getting an impressive bounce-back season from Siakam, who is a legitimate All-NBA candidate, the Raptors saw players like Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Gary Trent Jr. take another step forward and Precious Achiuwa evolve from a roll of the dice into a potential long-term cornerstone.

The team’s biggest win, according to Lewenberg, was the selection of Scottie Barnes in last year’s draft — it’s “impossible to overstate his importance” to the team and its future on the heels of his Rookie of the Year debut, Lewenberg writes.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Despite the strides the Raptors made in 2021/22, there are important areas that need to be addressed. In particular, the club needs to add more shooting, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto’s lack of shooting was its undoing against Philadelphia, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who notes that the team made just 7-of-35 (20.0%) three-pointers in Game 6 and 29.9% for the series. While Fred VanVleet‘s injury absence contributed to those struggles, the team could still use another outside threat or two.
  • Upgrading the bench will be another top priority for the Raptors this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) writes in his offseason preview. Toronto has Bird rights on both Thaddeus Young and Chris Boucher and could re-sign them without dipping into its mid-level exception. The front office has also shown a knack for identifying young talent outside of the draft lottery, Marks adds, so the No. 33 pick could be useful for adding an inexpensive contributor.
  • Within his preview, Marks notes that VanVleet will become extension-eligible in July and Siakam will become eligible for a new deal in October. Both players are on contracts that run through 2024, though VanVleet has a player option for 2023/24 and could theoretically become a free agent in ’23.
  • Speaking on Friday to reporters, Young conveyed how impressed he was with the Raptors after coming over from San Antonio at February’s trade deadline. This organization is elite,” Young said, per Lewenberg (Twitter link). “One of the top I’ve ever been a part of… I loved everything about this experience. As far as the team, the sky is the limit… This team can be really, really scary.” Young added that his family will be his top priority as he enters free agency and didn’t rule out the possibility of undergoing surgery on his injured thumb (Twitter links via Koreen and Grange).
  • The pairing of Achiuwa and the Raptors represents a perfect marriage between a player and an organizational philosophy, Koreen writes for The Athletic. The team’s willingness to experiment with Achiuwa rather than trying to rein him in or pigeonhole him has paid dividends so far, says Koreen.

Scottie Barnes Returning For Game 4

12:25pm: Scottie Barnes will play in Game 4 against the Sixers on Sunday, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link).


11:52am: After expressing some doubt that standout Raptors rookie forward Scottie Barnes would be available for Toronto during a must-win Game 4, head coach Nick Nurse was singing a different tune today. Nurse said that Barnes was running throughout conditioning tests and could “possibly” return to the floor for the Raptors today, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice (Twitter link).

The 6’9″ first-year forward out of Florida State suffered a left ankle sprain during Game 1 of the team’s first-round series against the Sixers, and has been sidelined ever since. Missing Barnes and his 15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 3.5 APG has been a huge blow for the Raptors. Philadelphia leads Toronto 3-0, and can eliminate the Raptors with a victory today.

Nurse is calling Barnes a game-time decision to return, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (via Twitter). Bontemps reveals that Barnes was somewhat involved in the team’s practice yesterday. He had his status upgraded from “doubtful” to “questionable” on the Raptors’ newest injury report, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Barnes is the only player listed on Toronto’s injury report at all today.

“It wasn’t too serious,” Nurse said of the ankle injury, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (via Twitter). Lewenberg reports that Nurse does not think Barnes will be under any sort of minutes cap, should he indeed become available.

In more good news for the Raptors, starting shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. has also recovered from the non-coronavirus illness that had limited his efficacy through the series’s first three contests. Nurse said Trent “seems to be all the way through” his ailment, tweets Murphy.

Trent scored a total of nine points through Toronto’s first two games, a far cry from his regular season average of 18.3 PPG. He looked more like his normal self on Wednesday for Game 3, scoring 24 points during the team’s 104-101 overtime loss to the Sixers.

Scottie Barnes Wins Rookie Of The Year Award

Raptors forward Scottie Barnes has won the 2021/22 NBA Rookie of the Year award, the league announced in a press release. Barnes finished in first place over fellow finalists Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham who finished in second and third place, respectively.

Barnes, who earned 48 first-place votes and 378 total points, narrowly edged out Mobley for the award. The Cavaliers‘ big man had 43 first-place votes and 363 total points. The 15-point difference is the smallest margin of victory for Rookie of the Year since the current voting format started 19 years ago.

Cunningham, the Pistons‘ starting point guard, had nine first-place votes and 153 total points for a solid third-place finish. Jalen Green, Franz Wagner, and Herbert Jones were the only other rookies who received votes — none of them earned a first-place vote, and none had more than two total votes.

The 20-year-old Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists for Toronto this season, shooting 49% from the floor and 30% from deep. He also provided versatile defense and helped the Raptors finish with the fifth-best record in the East at 48-34.

Barnes was drafted by Toronto No. 4 overall last year. He ranked third in points per game, third in rebounds per game and seventh in assists per game among all rookies this season. He also finished with the second-most steals in the group (80 in 74 games).

The NBA still hasn’t revealed the winners for most of this season’s awards, including Most Valuable Player — Defensive Player of the Year (Marcus Smart) is the only other award that has been announced to date. The full list of finalists for each award can be found here.

Injury Updates: Doncic, Booker, Barnes, Simmons

Asked on Friday if he’s optimistic about Luka Doncic‘s odds of returning from his left calf strain in Game 4 of the team’s series vs. Utah on Saturday, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd replied, “Optimistic? That’s a good word. … He’s going in the right direction.”

As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes, neither Doncic nor Kidd would guarantee that the All-NBA guard would be active on Saturday, preferring to emphasize caution. Doncic said he’ll do some more 5-on-5 work in practice today before any decisions are made about his status, but it sounds like it will once again be a game-time call.

The possibility of aggravating the injury will be an important consideration for the Mavericks and Doncic as they determine whether he’s ready to return. Doncic said today that it would have been “too much” risk to play in Game 3 on Thursday for that reason (Twitter link via Marc Stein). As it turned out, the Mavs didn’t need him, as Jalen Brunson led the team to a crucial win in Utah to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Following up on Brian Windhorst’s report that Suns guard Devin Booker could miss two or three weeks due to his right hamstring strain, ESPN’s Zach Lowe (video link) said he has heard optimism that Booker’s timeline should be much closer to two weeks than three.
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse spoke after Wednesday’s Game 3 loss as if he expected rookie Scottie Barnes (left ankle sprain) to return for Game 4, but he tempered expectations on Barnes today, telling reporters that the forward is making progress but is doubtful to play on Saturday (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Nurse added that the series score isn’t a factor in determining Barnes’ availability — the team wants to get him more playoff experience, so if he’s ready to play, he’ll play (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca).
  • It appears Ben Simmons won’t be ready to play in Game 3 of the Nets‘ series vs. Boston on Saturday, but he told reporters today he’s “very hopeful” about returning soon and confirmed that Monday’s Game 4 looks like a “reasonable” target to make his Brooklyn debut, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. Shams Charania reported on Thursday that Simmons plans to play in Game 4.

Raptors Notes: Superstar, Anunoby, Barnes, Achiuwa

Despite facing constant double teams in the first three games of the Sixers‘ series vs. the Raptors, Joel Embiid is thriving, averaging 27.7 PPG and 13.0 RPG en route to three Philadelphia victories. The 76ers have outscored Toronto by a total of 31 points with Embiid on the court.

As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, Embiid’s dominance is a reminder to the Raptors how much easier things are in the postseason when you have a superstar to lean on. The last time the two teams met in the playoffs, it was a Toronto superstar – Kawhi Leonard – who was the difference in the series, but the club no longer has a player of that caliber.

While Fred VanVleet was an All-Star this season and Pascal Siakam is an All-NBA candidate, neither player commands the sort of defensive attention that Embiid does, especially in the half court. The Raptors ranked 25th this season in half-court offensive efficiency in part because they’re missing that superstar, according to Koreen, who stresses the importance of Scottie Barnes‘ development as the club seeks that sort of player.

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star agrees that Embiid’s superstar performance is overwhelming Toronto, but says this series feels different than when the pre-Kawhi Raptors used to get eliminated year after year by LeBron James. This time around, Toronto has enough potential in-house star power – especially in Barnes, Siakam, and OG Anunoby – that the team doesn’t need to dream about bringing in a big name via trade or free agency, Arthur opines.
  • Anunoby remains a mystery for the Raptors, Koreen writes in another story for The Athletic. The fifth-year forward is once again playing some of his best basketball in the playoffs (24.0 PPG on 57.4% shooting), but injuries interfered with his development this season and it’s unclear how his postseason production would be affected if Philadelphia wasn’t so focused on slowing down Siakam. Toronto badly needs at least 70 games from Anunoby next season to get a better sense of his long-term role for the franchise, says Koreen.
  • Following the Raptors’ Game 3 loss, head coach Nick Nurse told reporters, “We’ll have Scottie back on Saturday and another weapon to use” (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca). Despite being down 3-0 to the Sixers, it sounds as if the Raps expect to bring Barnes back in Game 4 after the standout rookie missed the last two games due to an ankle sprain.
  • Second-year big man Precious Achiuwa, acquired in last summer’s Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade, missed a pair of crucial free throws near the end of the Raptors’ Game 3 loss, but the team came away thrilled with the 22-year-old’s play (20 points on 9-of-11 shooting) in a high-pressure game, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Fred VanVleet called it a “breakout performance,” while Nurse said he was “really proud” of how Achiuwa played.

Injury Notes: Barnes, R. Williams, Doncic, Murray, MPJ

Rookie of the Year finalist Scottie Barnes has been ruled out for Game 3 of the Raptors‘ series against Philadelphia on Wednesday, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. However, head coach Nick Nurse said Barnes has made “very encouraging” progress and is hopeful he’ll be able to suit up for Game 4, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link).

Barnes was previously listed as doubtful as he continues to deal with the left ankle sprain that he suffered in Game 1 on Saturday.

Here are some more postseason injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Celtics center Robert Williams III has been able to do some three-on-three work, but the team has been closely monitoring his knee to ensure he’s not experiencing swelling post-surgery. Head coach Ime Udoka again stated that the team is operating under the assumption that Williams will miss Boston’s series against Brooklyn (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic).
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic is officially listed as questionable for Game 3 against Utah on Thursday, the team’s PR department announced (via Twitter). As we relayed earlier today, Doncic was able to increase his activity at practice and if he and the team feel there’s little risk of aggravating his left calf strain, he might suit up.
  • Jamal Murray (ACL recovery) and Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery) have both been ruled out for Game 3 of the Nuggets‘ series against Golden State, according to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Murray is considered doubtful to make his season debut in the series and he’s reportedly closer to action than Porter, although Porter is still optimistic about a potential first-round return.

Injury Notes: Doncic, Trent, Barnes, Capela

After Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that there was optimism about Luka Doncic returning from his left calf strain as early as Game 3, the Mavericks star increased his activity at Wednesday’s practice, as veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein tweets.

Following that practice, Doncic spoke to the media for the first time during the playoffs and said he’s “feeling good,” per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). However, he wasn’t prepared to say he’ll be active for Game 3 in Utah on Thursday.

Doncic told reporters that a risk of aggravating the injury will be something he and the Mavs have to consider as they map out his return (Twitter links via MacMahon).

I don’t know if I’m going to be 100 percent. I think that’s tough right now,” Doncic said. “But if I’m ready and there’s no risk of (aggravating the) injury, I’ll be out there.”

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Raptors swingman Gary Trent Jr. (non-COVID illness) was initially listed as questionable for Game 3 on Wednesday vs. Philadelphia, but he’ll play and start, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. The team will see how Trent feels in the first quarter before making a decision on how much he’ll play tonight, says Lewenberg.
  • Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, meanwhile, continues to be listed as doubtful for Game 3 due to a left ankle sprain, but the rookie is out of his walking boot, and head coach Nick Nurse didn’t rule out the possibility that he could play on Wednesday, per Lewenberg (Twitter links).
  • Providing an update on Clint Capela on Tuesday, Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said the injured big man remains limited to physical rehab work for now, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). As Spencer relays, Capela – who is recovering from a hyperextended right knee – was seen doing some light on-court work prior to Tuesday’s game (all video links).
  • In case you missed it, we passed along the latest news on Devin Booker (hamstring) and Ben Simmons (back) earlier today.

Injury Updates: Simmons, Barnes, Trent, Collins

Nets guard Ben Simmons, who continues to recover from a back issue, took contact for the first time on Monday and participated in a 4-on-4 scrimmage, head coach Steve Nash told reporters on Tuesday (link via Steve Popper of Newsday).

“Yesterday was his first day of contact, played with some teammates yesterday,” Nash said. “He’s making progress, but there’s no real update. We’ll just see how he responds and see if he’s able to do more contact tomorrow.”

It’s another positive update for Simmons after ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Shams Charania of The Athletic both referred to him on Monday as “pain-free,” per NetsDaily. The three-time All-Star has been ruled out for Game 2, but it remains possible that he could make his Nets debut later in the first round. A pair of reports last week indicated that Simmons was targeting a return between Games 4 and 6.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • The Raptors have listed forward Scottie Barnes (ankle) as doubtful for Game 3 on Wednesday, while swingman Gary Trent Jr. (non-COVID illness) has been deemed questionable, tweets Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca.
  • Hawks big man John Collins is still experiencing pain in his finger and acknowledges he isn’t “at peak physical conditioning,” but he’s hoping to take on a bigger role in Game 2 after playing 21 minutes in his return on Sunday in Game 1, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I feel like I’m as good as I can be right now,” Collins said. “Trying to take all the precautions and all the treatments. Only thing I can do. Obviously, I’m still in some pain. But I feel like everybody’s in some type of pain this time of year, at some point. Mine might be a little bit more than normal, but I’m still trying to do what I can.”
  • In case you missed it, there’s optimism that Mavericks star Luka Doncic will be able to return in Game 3 or Game 4 vs. Utah.