On Saturday, the Toronto Raptors announced that swingman Scottie Barnes had been named NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2021-22 season. Barnes joins Vince Carter (1998-99) and Damon Stoudamire as the third player in franchise history to earn the honor.
Barnes was selected fourth overall by the Raptors in the 2021 NBA Draft (1995-96).
“We are incredibly proud of Scottie and are thrilled and grateful that his hard work has been recognized with this honor,” Toronto Raptors Vice-Chairman and President Masai Ujiri said. “What you see on the court is exactly who Scottie is: enthusiastic. Joyful. Athletic. Skilled and a winner. We – and our fans – loved seeing his development through this season, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Barnes received 378 points (48 first-place votes) from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Cleveland Cavaliers forward-center Evan Mobley finished in second place with 363 points (43 first-place votes). The 15-point difference between the first- and second-place finishers marks the smallest margin in NBA Rookie of the Year balloting under the current voting format, which began with the 2002-03 season.
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham finished in third place with 153 points (nine first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote, and one point for each third-place vote.
Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.08 steals, 0.74 blocks, and 35.4 minutes per game (first among all rookies) in 74 games (all starts) this season and was the only rookie to rank in the top five in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He scored 20 points or more 17 times and had 13 double-doubles while shooting.492 (459-932). Barnes led the club in scoring, rebounds 21 times, and assists 15 times in ten games.
Barnes, a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, was voted Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month twice (in February and March/April) and competed in the NBA All-Star Rising Stars and Taco Bell Skills Challenge. He became the first Raptors rookie – and the only rookie in the NBA this season – to score 1000 points, 500 rebounds, and dish out 250 assists in their rookie season. Barnes was also the first rookie to average 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists since Luka Doncic (2018-19).
Barnes’ year was highlighted by season highs of 31 points (14-21 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-2 FT) and 17 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers on Mar. 18. In a road win against Denver on Mar. 12, he scored 25 points and had a season-high ten assists. Barnes equaled a season-high with 28 points, 16 rebounds, and five thefts against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 28, becoming the only rookie since Shaquille O’Neal (1993) to score at least 25 points 15 rebounds, and five steals in the same game.