Raptors' Scottie Barnes shows off strength, improved jumper at offseason scrimmage

Amit Mann and Esfandiar Baraheni analyzed film of Scottie Barnes' play at a few offseason scrimmages with teammates and other NBA players. One thing is clear, the reigning Rookie of the Year has made upgrades in several areas. Listen to the full episode looking at takeaways from the Rico Hines runs on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast or watch on our YouTube.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Es, Rico Hines runs. Let's start-- well, I'll let you start. Where do you want to start? What's been your takeaway, one of your main takeaways?

ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: I mean, I think the thing that jumps out to everybody is how big Scottie has gotten since we last saw him against the Sixers. It just seems like he has wings for his back now. Like, it's just-- his lattice doremus-- I think that's what it's called. His lattice doremus is just massive, you know?


ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: So he's just gotten bigger, man, and like the muscle that he's put on, the size that he's put on, makes me think that obviously, he's getting to a point where physically, he feels a lot more comfortable in the rhythm of the NBA-- like, working out, kind of getting his routine going, which is always great to see. I think that's one thing that caught my eye initially.

But you know, obviously, all things Scottie Barnes at those Rico runs were really interesting because he was shooting a lot more he was initiating. He was kind of handling the ball a lot more than you might have expected. So it's cool to see him go through these progressions and be like, OK, maybe grab like a little piece here and there. Obviously, you got to take Rico Hines runs with a grain of salt.

AMIT MANN: Yes, of course.

ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: But like, at the same time, it's great to see what he's developed, what he's improved on, and, like, what he's focusing on, which is the shooting too, man. The shooting. I know you saw the shooting.

AMIT MANN: Hoo-wee. Hoo-wee. Now, I did a video a little while ago.

It was a YouTube video, and I was looking at some of the highlights from Brian McCann, who I actually ended up speaking to. That's Scottie Barnes' basketball trainer. And you saw he saw some differences in some of the clips that we saw on Brian's IG account, and you saw that Scottie's-- one, his torso was wasn't as movement heavy. His follow through was better. He was much more engaged with his legs on his jumper.


AMIT MANN: These are all good things all things that you need to have a solid jumper. And then I spoke to Brian about it, and he's like, yes, he's working on these things. It's really important to him.

He's making sure that the last point of contact is his index finger on his jumpers. The knees, they're bent. There's a flow to his jumper now. It's not as rigid as it used to be.

It seemed like his legs and his torso were doing different things at points. Now there's a real rhythm to it. And the shooting leg-- I mean, again, you gotta take it with a grain of salt. But I think with these runs, you can look at the things that players are trying. And something like a jump shot, the flow, shot readiness, shot preparation, all these things are much better with this jumper.

And man, I mean, I looked at the Raptors last year, and I had some discussions with people on Twitter about this when it came to, do they start Precious Achiuwa or do they start Gary Trent Jr. And to me, to have an effective, I don't know, final lineup, your best lineup has to have, at the very least, four league average 3 point shooters.

I think that's where we are with the NBA now. And if they were to start-- last season, at least-- Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, they weren't there, right? But then you had Gary, Fred, and OG, all terrific 3 point shooters. But even they all had their trials and tribulations. But now going into this season, there is reason to believe that the Raptors could have on the court at least five league average 3 point shooters.


AMIT MANN: I think Scottie and Pascal Siakam are going to be there. And Fred, I mean, he looked great and that one run that we saw a couple of days ago. What were your thoughts on Fred-- actually, anything else Scottie Barnes? He's Scottie Barnes. There's lots to talk about.

ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: I just wanted to talk to you about, like the shooting motion specifically. The chain reaction that you see in his body is so much smoother on pull up jumpers now. Obviously, outside of the Rico Hines run, he was at a pro-am game in Utah, I believe, Salt Lake City yesterday.

And you just saw the fluidity in his jump shot so much more. You mentioned the knees. Like, he's using his knees a lot more.

It's the kind of chain reaction from your legs all the way up to where your release point is. Like, a lot of that is stuff that you-- I mean, I'm not going to go into, like, biometrics. I'm not that type of NBA analyst. But at the same time, you can kind of tell these little things. It's like--


ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: --yes, he's clearly improved on this. And to me, that means that, one, he's going to get more on-ball reps coming into the next season, which is, it's a given, right?


ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: And on top of that, I think we're going to see him attempt more pull-up jump shots. We saw it a little bit here and there. I think the mid-range stuff is what he really focused on last year and catch and shoot 3's.


ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: But I do think we see a decent uptick in his pull up shooting, which is something that I'm excited for. I'm looking forward to seeing how he kind of develops that and adds that to his repertoire.

AMIT MANN: When I talk to Brian, he talked about-- he's already, when it comes to Scottie, in transition, he's terrific, right? He's damn near unstoppable out on the break. But in the half court, because of his role in the Raptors offense and because they have so many players who could get you a bucket-- you know, anyone can put up 25 points, right?

He's got to be really efficient with the shots that he gets. How does he do that? Well, a part is, you know, being shot ready, right? And Brian talked about when it comes to Scottie, like, he has the mechanics, and all the things we talked about, the biometrics, as you will, they're there.

But sometimes, it is just, like, expecting the ball and being shot ready when anticipating when the ball is going to be coming your way. And it's like that one second of difference where your hands are a little bit more ready. Your feet are set.

And that kind of stuff can really make a difference. That game six against the 76ers, second half, I swear I should have had like a restricted rating to it because it was awful. And what do we see, right?

It was Joel Embiid pretty much zoning up in the paint. He was leaving Scottie Barnes out at the 3 point line saying, I want to see you make some shots. And Scottie didn't do it.

He shot like six 3's, and maybe one of them, two of them, went in. But even the way that the shots are going in, they're swishes now. And the shots that he was hitting last season, when they did go in, they would kind of rattle in.

And that kind of stuff matters. That means you're getting better arc on your shot. There's better fluidity.

There's better contact with your fingers and where the last point of contact is. That kind of stuff does matter. There's a reason NBA players count swishes.

That's a fact. They do that, right? And it's because that's showing, like, how clean your release is and how clean your motion is.

And Scottie now, again, based off some Rico Hines runs and some warm up clips, it seems like that kind of stuff is happening for him. It's a terrific sign. It's crazy to think where he was last season.

Probably at this point, we're thinking that he was a "no level scorer." I'm using quotes for those listening. And now he's showing signs of being a potential three level scorer this coming season.

Maybe not in isolation on the 3-point line-- that's something that probably Pascal, we want him to do to do, to be able to hit those pull up 3's from the 3 point line. But Scottie, he could be a league average 3 point shooter. The signs are there.

The catch and shoot percentage should probably go up. And then just pull up in mid-range. I mean, if that is something he can add, it's going to help diversify his offense so it doesn't have to be so much around the basket.

ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: The other thing, and this is really quick, is that I've noticed this handle has gotten a lot tighter.


ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: He used to have a very high dribble. Like, it would come up all the way to his hips. And you can tell now in the clips that we've seen that it's a lot lower.

He has a little bit more control of the ball. And obviously, that's going to-- not only is that going to help in his playmaking and his navigation of pick and rolls and whatnot, but it also helps a lot with your jumper because getting the ball in position to actually release it and having it in a spot where you like it, it's a huge part of being a shooter. So-- especially a pull up shooter. So yeah, I think that's another area where kind of caught my eye at Rico. It's like, oh his handle is-- his handle's gotten nicer, tighter.

AMIT MANN: It's hard to not get a little bit carried away with the potential of Scottie Barnes. After seeing what he's done just a couple of months of an off season, we were told he's going to get a lot better. He said it himself.

The David Thorpes of the world said that he was going to use this offseason to get much better. Brian McCann, dude I spoke to, said this guy has like an unbelievable work ethic, and he just continuously is striving to get better, and he's very motivated. And here he is now.

And again, we're still not done with the offseason. He could still get better, people. He can still get better.


AMIT MANN: Crazy stuff, man.

ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: I remember the night after he got drafted. 7:00 in the morning, he was in the gym working out. And then you guys interviewed him, like, maybe two or three hours afterwards. So like--

AMIT MANN: Exactly.



ESFANDIAR BARAHENI: The work ethic is there it shows it's so clear as that.