Scottie Barnes, NBA Rookie of the Year?
If you ask the right people, just maybe.
With the Raptors in the midst of a playoff push, the fourth pick in the 2021 draft has been the most dynamic first-year player Toronto basketball fans have seen in some time.
There’s a case to prove, he’s the Raptors’ hottest rookie never, although some Vince Carter and Damon Stoudamire diehards might disagree with that.
While his place in Raptors history is debatable ad nauseam, it’s not hard to wonder if Barnes could be awarded the league’s top rookie at the end of the season.
Barnes’ biggest competition for the award comes in the form of Detroit’s Cade Cunningham and Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, first and third respectively in last year’s draft.
For now? At least a few famous members of the media backed Barnes to win Rookie of the Year.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons argued for Barnes to win the award on his eponymous podcast this week.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 29, 2022
“I think I’m going to pick Barnes, the way this season is going,” Simmons said. “Looking at him, the way he’s evolved over this season and how much he means to Toronto… he’s playing 36 minutes a game! He’s like a fucking 30 year old… he’s just all over the place. It has all kinds of swagger. The way he behaves is crazy.
Simmons also brought up the fact that Toronto leapfrogged Mobley’s Cleveland Cavaliers in the standings, which could play into voters’ minds. Mobley is also currently sidelined with an ankle injury suffered on Monday, with no timetable given for his return, which could also hurt his chances.
Ringer’s colleague Kevin O’Connor spoke about a recent episode of The gapalso supporting Barnes.
Bill Simmons ✅
— S 🧚🏽 (@Sadgaall) March 29, 2022
“Scottie Barnes is probably my favorite,” O’Connor said. “Scottie Barnes may be where I’m leaning.”
Earlier in March, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst endorsed Barnes’ positional versatility, although he admitted he was “still leaning towards Mobley” as a pick.
“He started a game at center and another at point guard,” Windhorst said. “You ask a rookie to do this. He played a pretty big role there.
While we don’t have a date for the NBA awards announcement, there are only 11 days left in the regular season for Barnes to make an effort.
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