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What happened to Raptors' rookie Scottie Barnes?

Great things were expected from Toronto Raptors' rookie Scottie Barnes heading into the season. And the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft impressed from the onset.

The 20-year-old was averaging over 16 points per game, the most by any rookie, surprising many best online casino. He put in a shift against two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant to the amazement of the superstar.

He also ranked first in rebounds per game (8.7) and field goal percentage (52.4 per cent); seventh in assists (2.4), third in blocks (0.7) and fourth in steals (1.1).

"I think a lot of young guys in the league have that competitive fire, but he has something a little extra as far as seeing the game a little slower and that's rare for a guy, how old is he 19, 20? Sheesh," Durant said in disbelief of the rookie's tender age.

"He knows how to play the right way and he's only going to get better."

But things have taken a different twist ever since. Raptors have hit the skids amid a rough losing streak, Barnes’ production hasn’t necessarily been as impressive as it was in his first handful of games.

He has topped 11 points Just once in his last five games, and he hasn’t made more than 50% of his shots in any of those games.

The last two games against a lowly Kings team and a dominant Golden State Warriors have been particularly uneven. Barnes totaled just two points against Sacramento. While he did record 13 rebounds and five assists in the loss to Golden State, Barnes tallied just 10 points on 3-11 scoring. Most of those points came with the Warriors ahead comfortably late.

The return of Pascal Siakam has coincided with Barnes shooting the ball less, as No. 43 needs the ball in his hands to be as effective as possible. Barnes and Siakam have had some nice moments together, but the Raptors have embarked on this West Coast trip without some key contributors in OG Anunoby and Yuta Watanabe.

Barely a week ago, Raptors coach Nick Nurse publicly voiced his displeasure with Barnes' lack of three-point shooting. "I'm disappointed Scottie’s not taking three or four threes a game," Nurse said back on November 18. "He can do it."

But Nurse isn't giving up on his starlet. : "I think he was a little flat to start but he hung in there. He needed not let that ride throughout the game. He got aggressive, he took a couple shots, went to the rim. That's what we want him to look like."

It appears as though opposing teams have figured that the 20-year-old can nail floaters and mid-range jumpers. Hence they're not letting him get to his floater as easily, forcing him to step out and take shots from further and further away. The key for Barnes will be adjusting to the adjustment and learning to nail those shots, not just for long twos, but for open threes, a skill he showed briefly on Sunday.

While Barnes' dip in production does correlate with Siakam's return, it also correlates with Barnes' thumb injury. Before the injury, he was shooting 55% from the floor, which pleased meilleur casino en ligne. Since then, he's shot 41%. He may be still not fully healthy and his right thumb is still frustrating him a little bit.

Barnes is 37 minutes away from surpassing the number of minutes he played all of last season at Florida State. He currently sits 20th in the NBA in minutes and there's a good chance he's just a little tired even if his youthful exuberance doesn't quite show it.

Barnes' box score numbers can be a little deceiving. The biggest dip in his production lately has come within the restricted area. Before the thumb injury, he was shooting 75% (27/36) at the rim. Since then, his shooting has dipped to 55.6% in the restricted area (25/45). Part of that so-called slump is just sheer luck.