Welcome, Razzball Nation! We continue our weekly dive into uncovering value for players who, at the infancy stage of the season, have yet to yield the dividends envisioned on draft day. For those new to the column, allow me to again go over what the criteria is to be a player featured here. I look for players who are performing well below, not only their ADP (average draft position), but historical production as well. I search for pathways that could indicate improvement, such as heavy minutes and/or increased usage.

This week we are in the 6ix, The T Dot, The North or whatever other nickname you are familiar with when describing Toronto.

Heavy Drizzy Drake quotables afoot.

Scottie Barnes

Optimistism permeates the air for the second year of a player who had a sensational rookie season in the league. We salivate over what is to come and we are often overcome with emotions when we project what said player can do per 36. I mean, it really and truly gets the juices flowing.

These are the reasons why Scottie Barnes, last season’s Rookie of the Year, was routinely being selected in the top 40-50 of drafts this season with zero hesitation. However, one month into the season and Scottie is sitting as the 88th ranked player on the season and the 117th player over the last week. Over the past week, Barnes has been shooting 35.2% from the field and 66.7% from the line.

“You wasn’t with me shooting in the gym”. Those numbers would indicate no one was with Scottie shooting in the gym including Scottie. Last Season Barnes finished the year as the 44th ranked player behind averages of:

49.2% FG, 73.5% FT, 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.8 threes.

All of those numbers have scope for improvement in Year Two, even with the all-NBA play of Pascal Siakam, who has shown another gear to shift into surprisingly. Siakim has been sidelined for the past six games due to a groin injury and we still have not witnessed Scottie take the leap we were hoping to see.

Unlike last season, when any starter would be out of the lineup we would see increases across the board for Scottie. Instead, he has only reached double-digit scoring three times since Siakim has been out and, in two of those games where Scottie was a single-digit scorer, both Freddy and Pascal were out.

Those games were “goin’ back to back, Yeah, goin’ back to back”.

The opportunity to buy low on Scottie may never reach these depths again this season. He will not remain a 35% shooter from the field and, as a result of bringing the average up, the points and threes will increase. We may not witness the ascension we were hoping for prior to the season but a repeat of last year’s production is fine. Actually, more than fine.

What will it take to swing a deal for Barnes at this point?

That question is always difficult to answer as it depends on league construction and team build but, as a general response, I would look to float out a Kevin Huerter-type player who is currently playing above his head and will cool off. The “what have you done for me lately” types may look at moving Scottie for that type of an offer and, by seasons end, I am confident that Barnes is the better player to have.

“My sophomore, I was all for it, they all saw it, My juniors and senior will only get meaner, Take Care”.

As always, hit me up in the comment section below with your thoughts and let me know if you agree or disagree, it is all welcomed.

Good luck out there,