3 reasons for Toronto Raptors fans to be thankful this season
The Toronto Raptors are finally back in Canada after an extended absence due to the pandemic. While wins haven’t come as frequently as some may have hoped, this team is doing everything that they can to set themselves up nicely for the future on the backs of players like Scottie Barnes, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby.
Even though Kyle Lowry is now a member of the Miami Heat, the Raptors were able to retain almost all of their star players on relatively cheap contracts. This team has leaned into the youth movement, and it has produced some genuinely exciting results when everything clicks.
Even though Toronto appears to be closing the curtain on their championship era, fans should still be grateful that this team is in such a good place this season. They aren’t trying for a rebuild, as Masai Ujiri put together a competitive team this season despite all of the turnover.
With American Thanksgiving being celebrated today, let’s look back at all of the things fans should be grateful for this season. The Raptors have a bright future ahead, and these 3 franchise cornerstones are a huge reason why.
3. Scottie Barnes
The Raptors went out on a limb when they chose to draft Barnes. After all, everyone and their grandmother thought that Jalen Suggs would end up being the pick. Not only has Barnes played better than Suggs so far, but he’s established himself as an indispensable piece of Toronto’s core.
Barnes went into Wednesday night averaging 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. Not only are his shooting skills far beyond what many expected him to show off during his rookie season, but his on-ball defense and tremendous passing skills from his days at Florida State have been on full display.
The Toronto Raptors nailed the Scottie Barnes pick.
The Raptors may not be contending for a championship this season, but they are trying to compete for a playoff spot. Barnes not only has to continue flexing those traits to keep Toronto in the hunt, but he has to continue adding new bells and whistles to his game to take that leap from a star prospect to a star player.
Barnes will have some more rough games. He’s also a 20-year-old rookie. These things happen. What is less easy to find, however, is a player with his combination of skills, infectious demeanor, and limitless potential on offense. If he finds his shooting stroke, look out.