The following Giannis Antetokounmpo? Raptor’s rookie Scottie Barnes confirmed indicators of greatness early on

The uniqueness of Scottie Barnes as a perspective made it difficult to draw NBA comparisons in preparation for the 2021 NBA draft.

How do you project 6 foot 9 point protection into the body of a power forward that can literally do a little bit of anything on either end of the floor? Is he like Draymond Green? Boris Diaw? Jabari Parker? These names (which were all pre-draft comparisons) show the range of what Barnes thought experts could achieve in the league.

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As it turns out, the best comparison is one that may have seemed ridiculous before the NBA draft, but a quarter of Barnes’ rookie season it’s impossible to ignore the shadows of Giannis Antetokounmpo in his game.

I mean come on


It’s hard to think of a player other than Antetokounmpo as he watches Barnes whirl around for a dunk or, more impressively, go coast to coast with three dribbles for a transition slam.

… He went from coast to coast for a dunk with three (!) Dribbles.

The unique mix of length and athleticism that both Antetokounmpo and Barnes possess allows them to do things other NBA players just can’t, which makes a great comparison between the two. The comparison goes much deeper, of course.

This is the part where I’ll make it clear that I’m not saying Barnes will become a multiple MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP like Antetokounmpo did in its first eight seasons, but I am not. also do not say.

MORE: With the title, Giannis positions himself to reach a rare level of greatness

Since Antetokounmpo’s rise to superstar is probably the best example of exponential growth and development in league history, it’s not ridiculous to say that Barnes is much more advanced than Antetokounmpo at a similar point in time.

It’s a fact.

Rookie comparison: Scottie Barnes vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo

player season age G GS MINIMUM PTS REB BRANCH FGM FG% 3 PM 3P% FTM FT%
Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 19th 77 23 24.6 6.8 4.4 1.9 2.2 .414 0.5 .347 1.8 .683
Scottie Barnes 2021-22 20th 21 21 35.6 15.3 8.1 3.3 6.2 .489 0.7 .375 2.2 .730

Either way, since context is important, it’s worth noting that as rookies, the two of them got into very different situations.

Antetokounmpo was selected in 15th place overall by a Bucks team that had qualified for the playoffs a year earlier and found themselves in the starting eleven as a development project. Barnes, on the other hand, was the fourth overall selection of the Raptors who are about to usher in a new era in basketball.


While Barnes will be the main subject of the Raptors’ prestigious player development program for the years to come, it entered the league as a much more elaborate product, ready to contribute at the NBA level.

It’s worth noting, however, that Barnes turned 20 before playing his first NBA season, while Antetokounmpo made his NBA debut at 18 and celebrated his 20th birthday in December of his sophomore season.

So it’s only fair that we compare them at this point, isn’t it?

Season comparison with 20 years: Scottie Barnes vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo

player season age G GS MINIMUM PTS REB BRANCH FGM FG% 3 PM 3P% FTM FT%
Giannis Antetokounmpo 2014-15 20th 81 71 31.4 12.7 6.7 2.6 4.7 .491 0.1 .159 3.2 .741
Scottie Barnes 2021-22 20th 21 21 35.6 15.3 8.1 3.3 6.2 .489 0.7 .375 2.2 .730

Even at the same age, Antetokounmpo’s year 2 production wasn’t quite up to what we saw from Barnes during his rookie campaign.

While Antetokounmpo’s averages of 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his third season are similar to Barnes’ rookie numbers, he made the all-star leap in year 4 and became an MVP just two seasons later appointed.

Just as Giannis’ exponential growth should be a testament to his hard work and development staff in Milwaukee, so should Raptors fans look forward to what’s to come from their star newbie – both this one Season as well as in the coming season the coming years.

As absurd as it may seem to compare a 20-year-old rookie to an all-time great, there are several levels. Of course there are the metrics and the numbers and even the breathtaking plays, but what about those things that can’t be measured on a combine harvester, quantified on a statistics sheet, or analyzed on film?

Barnes has that too.

MORE: Where does Barnes rank in early season MVP racing?

Following his unofficial Raptors debut at the Las Vegas Summer League, Barnes wrote a letter in the Players’ Tribune entitled “What’s Up, Toronto?” In it, Barnes spoke of his passion to win and win big, and explained his anger at his lack of a chance to fight for the Summer League title by saying, “This just shows the love I have for got this game and this town because all i want to do is play hard for this team. And I’m looking forward to showing you all of this more and more. “

Sounds familiar.

It’s one thing to talk about it, but another to back those words with action, which comes full circle for Barnes. While Antetokounmpo was a healthy scratch at what would have been the very first meeting between the two, Barnes showed his passion and fire by facing another challenge.

According to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, head coach Nick Nurse said Barnes’ response to learning Antetokounmpo was a statement that he would protect Bucks star Khris Middleton.

“Scottie stepped up and said, ‘I’ll watch him, I’ll watch him hard.'” – Nurse on Barnes accepts Middleton’s challenge when Raptors knew Giannis was outside.

– (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) December 3, 2021

Middleton finished the night with 22 points (at 8 of 20 shoots) with Barnes guarding him for 34.7 partial ownership, according to Stats.

The mentality Barnes possesses enables him to take on challenges in this way, which is evident in the score and in the film. And while the parallels with Antetokounmpo will last forever, Barnes is able to make his own way in the league as the Raptor’s next franchise cornerstone.

The rapid rise to star is just beginning.

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