Can Scottie Barnes become the greatest rookie in Raptors history?
With Toronto Raptors sensation Scottie Barnes set firmly alongside Cleveland’s Evan Mobley as frontrunners for the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year, we can start to record at this impressive freshman campaign with a bit of a wider lens. Is Barnes going to be the next Damon Stoudamire or Vince Carter?
Not only has Barnes been leading all rookies in scoring and rebounding, but he’s also been doing it all while shooting above 50% from the field. He’s expanded his game by creating for himself off the dribble and improving as a jump shooter from mid-range and the foul line (62% in college, 79% in the NBA).
He’s been doing this while being able to viably guard Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard in the same quarter.
Crazier still, Barnes has managed to capture the hearts of casual fans with his highlight dunks, fire on the court, and trademark enormous smile. At the same time, he’s appealing to grumpy older analysts like Kendrick Perkins and Charles Barkley with his toughness and basketball smarts.
All that taken into consideration, one has to start wondering if this is the best rookie the Toronto Raptors have ever had. As lofty a declaration as that may sound, Barnes is producing at an elite clip.
How good is Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes?
In their now 27 years as a franchise, the Raptors have had 14 lottery picks play out their rookie campaigns north of the border. I’ve taken the liberty of writing them out and grading their respective freshman years, report card style.
- ’95 Damon Stoudamire (7th): A+
- ’96 Marcus Camby (2nd): A
- ’97 Tracy McGrady (9th): C+
- ’98 Vince Carter (5th): A+
- ’03 Chris Bosh (4th): B+
- ’04 Rafael Araujo (8th): D
- ’05 Charlie Villanueva (7th): B+
- ’06 Andrea Bargnani (1st): B
- ’09 DeMar DeRozan (9th): B
- ’10 Ed Davis (13th): B-
- ’11 Jonas Valanciunas (5th): B
- ’12 Terrence Ross (8th): C
- ’16 Jakob Poeltl (9th): C+
Except for the empty Pringles can that was Rafael Araujo, the Raptors have drafted quite well in this position over the years.
Now, not all of these guys stayed long-term in Toronto, and even fewer of them still became stars, but that’s beside the point. Barnes has three notable contenders on this list for the title of best Raptors rookie ever in Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, and Vince Carter.