Moments after Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes warmed up ahead of today’s playoff game — and Barnes is available! — news broke from The Athletic’s Shams Charania — Barnes had won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.
Although no official word has come down from the Raptors or the league, a Shams report is the most official unofficial report you’ll ever see, so — congratulations, Scottie!
Barnes, the fourth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, started every game he played for the Raptors this season — 74 of them, to be precise — and he averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, with a .552 true shooting percentage. His all-around play, including an impressive campaign on the defensive end for a rookie — he guarded every position on the court, and he guarded everyone from fellow rookies like Evan Mobley to all-time greats like LeBron James — was a huge part of Toronto’s transformation this season from lottery-team to the 5th-seed in the Eastern Conference.
Unforrunaly, Barnes’ injury in Game 1 versus the Philadelphia 76ers has robbed us of the chance to see what he can truly do in the postseason. That might change today — Barnes is available for Game 4 — as he and the Raptors attempt to make history.