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#pounditWednesday, February 21, 2024

Work ethic concerns emerging with 1 young Raptors player?

Nick Nurse in a suit

Mar 8, 2020; Sacramento, California, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse gives instructions during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors may have concerns beyond just their 15-18 record.

Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reported this week that Raptors forward Scottie Barnes raised eyebrows within the organization over the summer by “flit[ting] in and out of team runs in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles.” In other words, Barnes did not consistently participate in offseason pickup games with teammates. Smith also says that Barnes failed to add something new to his game over the summer like many Raptors have done in the past.

The 21-year-old Barnes, the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, burst onto the scene as a rookie. He averaged a strong line of 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game with vicious defense to earn himself Rookie of the Year honors. But Barnes has hit a textbook “sophomore slump” this season, regressing in nearly every major statistical category. Recently, Barnes has even lost a few minutes to bench guys like Chris Boucher and Khem Birch.

Since his standout rookie season, Barnes has mostly just been making the headlines for clowning people online. His development from here will be worth watching closely, particularly if Toronto continues to struggle.

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