The Toronto Raptors have been criticized for not picking a direction.
The Raptors haven’t committed to a full rebuild and they haven’t been able to strike a deal for a big superstar despite having interest in two big names in two consecutive summers.
When Kevin Durant’s future with the Brooklyn Nets was uncertain, the Raptors were interested in the superstar. When Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto was in the mix as well.
However, Durant was ultimately traded to the Phoenix Suns and Lillard was shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks. When the Raptors were rumored as a trade partner for both stars, it was believed that the Raptors were unwilling to trade away Scottie Barnes.
According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, he confirmed that Scottie Barnes was untouchable in trade negotiations for both Durant and Lillard:
The Toronto Raptors considered Scottie Barnes ‘untouchable’ in trade discussions involving Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard, per Zach Lowe
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 17, 2023
Entering his third season with Toronto, Barnes hopes to take a leap this year. The 6’9″ forward has shown All-Star potential on both sides of the ball.
It seemed that the ‘sophomore slump’ effected Barnes’ play last season with a slight dip in numbers. But, it is way too early to jump to conclusions on the kind of player he can be.
With one preseason game left, Barnes is coming off his best game yet. On Tuesday, against the Chicago Bulls, Barnes put up 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals in 28 minutes.
He shot 8-for-14 from the field and even shot 2-for-3 from deep. If Barnes is able to shoot it consistently he will be in line for a big season.
Through three preseason games, Barnes is averaging 17 points, six rebounds and 3.7 assists on 60% from the field and 50% from three in 22 minutes of action.
Barnes says his mindset is to go out there and dominate
A breakout season may be on the horizon for the 22-year-old.
If preseason is any indication of what’s to come then Barnes is going to burst onto the scene.
This may be the season where Barnes puts it all together and proves the naysayers wrong.
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