Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes is the best rookie of the 2021-2022 NBA season. The 20-year-old beat Cleveland Cavaliers favorite Evan Mobley and Detroit Pistons number one Cade Cunningham in an election that was voted on by 100 journalists and expert commentators from the United States and Canada.
Barnes had already surprised in the draft, when he was chosen in fourth place by the Canadian franchise. Predictions were that he would come out between seventh and tenth places. Athletic and vibrant on the court, he won over the Raptors in his single year of college basketball at Florida State University and pre-draft practice.
The player started and ended the year as a starter in a team that reached the fifth place in the disputed Eastern Conference. He averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks in 35, 4 minutes per match. He played in 74 of 82 games.
He led the rookies in minutes, was third in points and rebounds, and fifth in assists, steals and blocks. With the election of Barnes, the Toronto Raptors have three trophies on the shelf. The previous two were by Damon Stoudamire (1995-96) and Vince Carter (1998-99).
— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2022
Barnes had 48 votes for first place, 43 for second place and nine for third. Mobley had five fewer votes for first place and finished 15 points behind, the smallest gap recorded in the current voting format, adopted 19 years ago. Cade Cunningham, who took a while to get the season started, finished a distant third.
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