What gives Scottie Barnes his advantage? We ask the rookie of the Raptors


“What’s rare about Scottie Barnes is his IQ for the game, his length, his enthusiasm for the game. It all shines when you watch him play,” Durant said. “You can tell he just wants to be there for his teammates and make winning basketball games. I think a lot of the young guys in the league have that competitive fire, but it’s got something a little more and more to seeing a game a little slower. And it is rare. For a boy, how old is he? 19? 20? Darling.

“He knows how to play the right way and he will only get better.”

Barnes is a big part of why the Raptors, who have the 11th best defense in the league, can be so tough to face despite being one of the youngest and less experienced league teams. Whether it’s a scrum in the summer or a meaningless preseason game or a regular season game on a Sunday afternoon, Barnes brings inspiring energy and effort to the pitch, this which has helped him gain the love of his Raptors teammates, who clearly enjoy playing with him. As for his opponents, either you equal him or you go home a loser.

“On the pitch you just think he’s crazy,” said Golden State Warriors rookie Moses Moody. Athleticism. “The first time I really played against him, he made a fence, he was on the other team, I shoot a three. He had his hair all over the place, that’s when he had his dreadlocks and things. He comes out screaming. I missed it. It’s crazy. I was like, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ “

Often times, being so competitive can dominate the emotions of young players, making them want to do it all on their own instead of trusting the system and their teammates, or causing them to get too high or too low on themselves all the time. long a match or a season. But Barnes is different: he plays through everything and stays balanced because he understands what it takes to be successful in the biggest basketball league in the world.

There was a moment in the Raptors’ 115-83 win over rival Boston Celtics on October 22, when Barnes hit a 20-foot pull-up on Al Horford and immediately looked towards the Celtics bench, articulating what appeared to be “closed up!” to the group of them.

“They were just saying, ‘Save. Make him shoot. And then I just touched one, put it in place, because I’m not afraid to shoot, so if I’m wide open I’m going to shoot it…. And I touched one, so I just said a little something, ”Barnes says of the episode, noting that he’s rarely talked about trash these days.

“I’m not really talking about waste anymore. I’m just playing the game trying to win, because at this level you can’t really take ownership or get carried away. You just have to really focus and lock in.

For someone so young, Barnes shows a lot of maturity, and that’s what has allowed him to be one of the most consistent Raptors so far this season, positively affecting the game every time. once he enters the field. In addition to toning down the trash to stay focused, he tries to stay away from social media on game days so he doesn’t get “big-headed” or distracted.

After nearly missing a buzzer signal in a 102-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers recently, Barnes looked angry with himself. So, I asked him, how do you get over a loss like this?

“It wasn’t really difficult. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. We can just learn from every game, ”Barnes said with the wisdom of a 10-year veteran. “But the good thing about this game and this league is you have yet another game. Tomorrow is the next game.

“Just catch up tomorrow. “

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