The Toronto Raptors are close to rock bottom. The team has lost three straight games and they are coming off arguably their worst loss of the season.
The Raptors led by 17 points at home against the Utah Jazz and then completely fell apart down the stretch. The Jazz outscored the Raptors 41-21 in the fourth quarter to get the win.
The loss spoiled Scottie Barnes’ masterful performance. Barnes tied his career-high with 32 points, had 14 rebounds and 7 assists. He shot it 10-14 from the field and 4-5 from three.
He scored 17 points in the first quarter and had 24 going into halftime. This was one of Barnes’ best games of the season.
The leap Barnes has taken in his third season is remarkable. Although the Raptors have lost a ton, he continues to show his tremendous growth as a player.
Barnes was asked about if it’s tough to stay positive after losing 10 of 13 games via Josh Lewenberg:
“I’m grateful everyday to wake up and be able to play NBA basketball. It’s the best. Even coming off last night’s loss I woke up happy that I got to play another game. I just love basketball.”
Barnes is the only player this season with 40+ steals and 40+ blocks.
He is also 1 of 9 players since 1983-84 with 40+ steals, 40+ blocks and 40+ 3FGM in the first 29 games of a season:
Scottie Barnes is a superstar and everyone should respect his name pic.twitter.com/BiMgZQUznn
— PS43 ⭐️ (@PascalHoops) December 24, 2023
Raptors must rebuild around Barnes
As the Raptors continue to drop games, it is clear that a rebuild around Barnes is inevitable. The Raptors must commit to him as the cornerstone as their franchise and build around him properly.
Barnes is a special talent, but in order for him to win in Toronto he will need the right supporting cast around him and that’s on management to do that.
It’s been a frustrating season for the Raptors, but it’s been fun watching Barnes’ incredible evolution into a star.
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