Scottie Barnes has been in the rumor mill recently, as he’s been mentioned as a centerpiece in a potential trade for Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.
However, it wouldn’t be wise of the Toronto Raptors to trade their top asset under any circumstance. When the games on the NBA schedule get underway, you will see exactly why Barnes is worth keeping around.
For starters, Barnes took home the Rookie of the Year honors amongst an extremely competitive draft class featuring the likes of Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley.
Barnes averaged 15.3 points on 49.2 percent shooting to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in his first season in the league. He only shot a little over 30 percent from three, but with development and more experience, a 3-pointer can always be developed.
Aside from his mediocre at best 3-point shooting, Barnes has all the other intangibles to make him a great player for the next decade-plus.
He is very athletic, which always plays well in the modern NBA. He can always take advantage of open cracks and get to the rim at will. He has excellent touch around the rim and shows potential to be able to get to his spots in the mid-range. He has all the makings to become an elite three-level scorer.
Additionally, he isn’t afraid to clean up the offensive glass and fight amongst the trees for putback dunks and muscle his way inside to get easy points in the paint.
His offensive prowess is all there, but he also has all of the intangibles to be an elite level defender in the NBA with his size, length and instincts.
In a wings league, you can never place too much of a premium on all of these traits, especially when you consider that he hasn’t even reached his 21st birthday at the time of this writing.
Kevin Durant is as elite of a basketball player the world has ever seen. There’s no denying that.
However, he’s also going to be 34 at the start of next season and has an injury history working against him. He missed the entire 2019-20 season due to a right Achilles tear suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, then proceeded to miss significant time over the past two seasons.
When KD is healthy, there’s no denying his talent. Heck, he could’ve won the last two MVP awards had he stayed healthy over the course of an entire season.
However, KD is not going to be joining this team via free agency, so the only way the Raptors would be able to acquire him is via trade.
With that said, the Nets aren’t going to trade their most valuable asset at a discount. They’re going to try and get the most possible value they can get while his value is still as high as it currently is.
You can argue that if the Raptors were willing to trade Barnes that the deal would’ve already been agreed to, but obviously, the Raptors understand the power of negotiation and realize that Barnes is just way too valuable to give up under any circumstance.
The Raptors’ main hope is to perhaps build a package around Pascal Siakam or Fred VanVleet and entice the Nets with OG Anunoby and multiple first round picks over the next decade, but that deal would only help the Nets be competitive over the next few years, not necessarily championship contenders or a team well set up for the future.
If the Raptors can convince the Nets to pull the trigger on a trade not featuring Barnes, that’d be a huge victory, but that is far from a certainty, if not an unlikely scenario.
Regardless of how this plays out, the Raptors shouldn’t entertain trading Barnes whatsoever. He has the makeup and the flashy style that’ll resonate with the Raptors’ fanbase for years to come while positioning themselves to be an elite team.
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