NBA All-Star weekend is one of the best festivities in basketball. It features the most talented basketball players in the world as they have a chance to have fun and show their true skill set. The All-Star players are set featuring some prime-time players on each roster. Luckily, the Eastern Conference team is featuring a former Florida State Seminole on the roster.
Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes’ journey to becoming an All-Star has been incredible. From the moment he stepped foot in Tallahassee, he was beloved by Florida State fans. Barnes is a special talent who can contribute on the court in multiple ways. On offense, he can be a jack of all trades with the combination of scoring, rebounding, and playmaking. On defense, Barnes is interchangeable as he’s able to switch effectively and defend multiple positions.
Barnes played for Florida State during the 2020-21 season. His play style was perfect for head coach Leonard Hamilton’s program. Because of his decision, he was able to shine as one of the prominent prospects of the ACC. One reason why Barnes was beloved in Tallahassee was because of his willingness to sacrifice. Sure, he was projected to be a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. However, Barnes was willing to come off the bench and be a big contributor in Florida State’s second unit.
In his one season at Florida State, Scottie Barnes averaged 10.3 points along with 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals. Due to his contributions, the Seminoles were recognized as one of the best teams in the NCAA. Barnes won ACC Sixth Man of the Year as well as ACC Freshman of the Year. Despite the Noles being many people’s favorites to win the National Championship, they lost to a #1 seed Michigan in the Sweet 16.
It’s a reason why Barnes stood out as one of the nation's favorites. His production was sensational and his numbers showed it. No, he wasn’t exploding for 20-point nights on every occasion. Instead, his stats were balanced out between points, rebounds, assists, and steals where he could have posted a triple-double most nights. His production in college would translate to the NBA as he was selected fourth overall by the Raptors.
The Draft class was loaded with tremendous talent projected to be NBA greats. There was Barnes’ high school teammate, Cade Cunningham, who went number one to the Detroit Pistons. Then there were other prospects like Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and others. Barnes happened to be in the mix as one of the best players in his Draft Class. Starting his new journey as a Toronto Raptor, Barnes was eager to take the franchise to further heights.
Barnes was the standout talent in his Draft Class that took home the Rookie of the Year Award. He continued to blossom as a two-way talent and his coaching staff believed in his abilities. Barnes averaged 15.3 points per game along with 7.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals. His fantastic rookie season resulted in a playoff appearance for the Raptors as they pushed the Philadelphia 76ers to six games.
Barnes has only capitalized off his rookie season and continued to blossom moving forward. In his third season, he’s playing better than ever. One of Barnes’ weak spots in his game was consistently knocking down perimeter jumpers. Luckily, the consistent work in the off-season paid off. Barnes’ shot mechanics have improved and he’s shooting a career-high 36 percent from three this season.
Originally, Barnes wasn’t selected as an NBA All-Star. Luckily, due to injuries from other players in the Eastern Conference, he became a replacement. Regardless of whether he was an original vote or not, it’s still an accomplishment to become an All-Star for the first time. Barnes is another Seminole who has found his footing as an NBA star, which is the reason why he’s representing Garnet and Gold in Indianapolis next weekend.