June 16, 2024

NBA All-Star Injures Hand, Out Indefinitely

In Friday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, Scottie Barnes got injured and left the game in the second quarter. The team later reported that the exact injury is a fracture of the third metacarpal bone of his left hand. As of this writing, there is no timetable for Barnes’ return.

After a somewhat disappointing second NBA season in 2022-23, Barnes has developed into one of the best young forwards this season. The 22-year-old was named to his first All-Star team and is now the clear face of the Toronto Raptors. That became evident once the team traded Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers and Fred VanVleet signed with the Houston Rockets in free agency.

Versatile Scottie Barnes is Raptors' 'player of the future' - The San Diego  Union-Tribune

Named the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year, Barnes has appeared in all 60 of Toronto’s games this season. He played in 151 of a possible 162 games during his first two seasons. Unfortunately, he will now be forced to miss some action.

NBA All-Star Injures Hand, Out Indefinitely

Tough Break for the All-Star Forward

Drafted fourth overall in 2021, Barnes started off his career by being named Rookie of the Year in 2021-22. That rookie season, he averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his 74 games. His game didn’t seem to take a step forward in 2022-23. Barnes’ scoring average stayed the same, and he shot less accurately from the field and three-point territory. Barnes has seemed to put it all together this season though. The six-foot-seven forward is averaging career-bests pretty much across the board. That includes scoring (19.9), rebounds (8.2), assists (6.1), steals (1.3), and blocks (1.5). He’s also become more of a reliable three-point shooter at 34.1%. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 19.4, well above the 15.5 he posted in 2022-23.

Unless he is able to come back to play at least six more games this season, Barnes will become ineligible for end-of-season accolades such as making an All-NBA team.

Raptors' Scottie Barnes wins NBA rookie of year, edges Evan Mobley - Los  Angeles Times

Barnes’ Injury Likely Ends Play-In Chances

It was highly unlikely even before Barnes’ injury that the Raptors would find a way to reach the Play-In Tournament. There is a large fall-off in the Eastern Conference though after the top eight. The Atlanta Hawks currently sit in 10th despite not being a very good team at 26-33. The Raptors are 22-38, 4.5 games behind Atlanta with just 22 regular season games left. While the door may have been slightly opened with Trae Young’s injury, it now has in all likelihood closed with Scottie Barnes getting injured.

© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

More of the scoring onus will be placed on Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, two players acquired by Toronto from the New York Knicks in late December. While it is unclear who will take Barnes’ place in the starting lineup, Kelly Olynyk looks to be the best option. Those three would be in the starting lineup alongside Gary Trent Jr. and Jakob Poeltl.

The Raptors next game is Sunday at home against the Charlotte Hornets. Their regular season ends on April 14. Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft is owed to the San Antonio Spurs from the trade that brought them Poeltl in 2023 which means there is no extra motivation to stack up losses.

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