Scottie Barnes' trainer on the Raptors sophomore's moments of passive play

Brian Macon, Scottie Barnes' trainer, discusses why the 21-year-old appears to lack aggression in his play and how the sophomore forward dealt with criticism earlier in the 2022-23 Raptors season. Full episode coming later Thursday.

Video Transcript


- Siakam, the slam.

- CJ, the [? fade. ?] Good!

BRIAN MACON: Like, when Indiana and, I think, Memphis was playing them super drop. And, you know, everybody's like, why don't he shoot it? But he understands that if I just go dribble handoff, like, Gary is gonna get a wide-open 15-footer. That's, like, a 60, 70% shot for Gary, you know what I mean?

So it's just gonna take-- it just takes time. And I think, back to CJ's point, like, we haven't really seen, like, this type of player before. It's kind of like Kawhi, but it's like really, like, playmaking forward.

So when people have never seen it before, it's kind of like you don't know what to think of it, you know what I mean? You don't know if it's, like, him not being aggressive, or is it him, like, trying to make a play, make your-- does he not care about scoring or-- you know what I mean? So it's like-- it's gonna-- like, he's not worried. I'm not worried. We all know what it's gonna be.

And he's got great habits. Like, he puts his work in all the time. He stretches, eat well. Like, those things are gonna translate. It's gonna take, like, year three, year five, you're gonna see, like, oh, shit. Like, this is crazy.

CJ MILES: That freedom is earned, though. Like, I don't mean by your coaching and by the players you're playing with. I don't mean that-- from them, too. But first, it's earned from yourself, from you trusting yourself and just your game.

When you got all this-- when you got this big skill set, right, and you're expanding your game, and there's so many things that you could do, you want to get to a point where you're not thinking about what I could do. You just do them.


CJ MILES: You just play, and you react. Like, when you're expanding, and you're still adding stuff, and people have been talking to you about the last five games, this shot being there or that being there, you're still competing.


CJ MILES: When you get to the point where you earn that freedom from all that gym time and all those minutes you play, when everything is just you being in it and being free, then, then we'll see, like you're saying, that jump because those minutes will catch up.

And that confidence in himself and catch up that him recognizing the defense, like you said, with the play in New York before it happens, that happens more frequent, is less inconsistent. And now he's just playing. There's no thought process.

I don't have to worry about if I'm gonna make the right decision. If I shot the ball, that was the right decision.


CJ MILES: If I passed it, that was the right decision. If I did the dribble handoff-- like, everything is already seen and rehearsed and watched on film and played through. And lost games, won games, big games, bad nights, all that stuff is gonna roll into a ball and turn into this all-star caliber player that we're looking at.

BRIAN MACON: Yeah, for sure.

AMIT MANN: There was a stretch in November, December or so where, I mean, he was receiving probably the most criticism I've seen from my Twitter timeline, from Toronto media as a whole, even, like, NBA media as a whole. I found it very strange because, like, they're talking about, I mean, he has such a rare talent.

He's in his sophomore year. The Raptors aren't playing well. So how many players are gonna be playing well when your team isn't playing well as a whole, either? Like, there was a lot of things that were going down.

But I would imagine when you mentioned you want to keep him sharp, that's both physical. That's mental. That's emotional. So what was going on with him during that time? Was he just like, we'll figure it out or we're gonna get better? Because we know that losses impact him a lot. He doesn't like it.

BRIAN MACON: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, he doesn't-- I mean, the great thing about him is he doesn't get too hard and get too low on itself. So he wasn't really, like, too stressed about it.

He was just-- it's just another thing that he has to go through, you know what I mean? And I think he understands, like, that everything is a process. And I think he was-- a lot of things that was going on with his body, it wasn't all the [INAUDIBLE], right? But he was just playing through things.

So you start to see, like, he's back healthy, and you see, like-- he wasn't even dunking for some points of the season. But now he got his body right, and he started to feel a lot better. Then you start to see him just pick up his play.

But, like, no matter what's going on, he's never, like, too high or too low. He's always just, yo, we got to go to-- like, bad games, good games, we're still going to the gym, you know what I mean? We're still going to the gym, still hitting the gym.

So these guys-- like, these kids these days are like-- they're a little different. Like, these kids have been-- like, he's been playing USA basketball with some of the best players in the world since he was, you know, 14, 15 years old.

So, like, this is a huge stage. But, you know, he's always played on a bigger stage. He's always been, like, a social media, freaking going viral and shit like that.

So, like, these kids just have a-- it's not too big for them, you know what I mean? It's like they almost expect them to be-- they expect that the next step, the next step has always been something bigger. So they already-- he's just waiting for it to be his time to be a all-NBA guy.

There's no doubt in his mind that that's what his trajectory is.

CJ MILES: It just hasn't happened yet.

BRIAN MACON: That's just how it is. And he's just like, I just need to put in-- I just need to keep putting in the work. The work gonna show. That's all he said. The work's gonna show.

So he wasn't freaking out or losing sleep or anything, you know what I mean? He was doing the same thing, still putting in work. It was just another thing that he had to figure out.


- Siakam, the slam.

- CJ, the [? fade. ?] Good!