Scottie Barnes Could Be Going Through A Sophomore Slump

The Toronto Raptors have one of the most exciting young stars in the NBA. Scottie Barnes was drafted fourth overall in the 2021 NBA draft. Many thought that the Raptors would select Jalen Suggs, and even went as far as to suggest that Toronto will regret their decision. Barnes proved nay-sayers wrong and would go on to win the rookie of the year award last season. When this year started, the hope was he would make a huge leap, however, it seems like Barnes could be going through a sophomore slump. 

Whether or not the sophomore slump technically exists could be up for debate. One thing for sure though is that fans and media alike notice when the stats seem to take a hit. A couple of names come to mind when thinking about this theory. Tyreke Evans and Michael Carter Williams. Both players started their careers like nothing could possibly go wrong. Unfortunately, their numbers would go down and they became an afterthought from their second year onwards.

Barnes is currently going through a rough stretch of games. In the last five games, he has been averaging 12 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. Although the numbers suggest that he is not doing so bad in the assists and rebounding department, he is struggling to score the ball.

The Raptors are 7-7 to start the year and have played five games in seven nights with two back-to-backs. They are without Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa due to injuries. Fred VanVleet missed some time early in the season and the most recent game due to illness. With the team hobbled, the former rookie of the year is trying to make his presence felt. Barnes is possibly going through a lingering ankle that he injured last season and the early part of this season which does not help.

Teammate Thaddeus Young suggests that Barnes is putting "a lot of weight on his shoulders." Young also added though that the struggles can make "him into a better player." There is no doubt that the 21-year-old might feel the pressure to perform with his team relying on him to pick up the slack for all the injuries and inconsistencies so far on the team. 

With that being said, a lingering injury and pressure combined do not translate into great performances. Barnes is still trying to figure out his role on the team after getting some point-guard duties placed on him. It might take some time and hopefully, he does not become a victim of the sophomore slump. The Raptors play the Pistons on Monday night where Barnes could look to redeem himself. 

Photo Credit Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports