WATCH: Toronto Rookie Draws Comparison to Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo as He Goes Coast to Coast

Published 10/29/2021, 11:15 PM EDT
Jun 19, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives past Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in the third quarter during game seven in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


With the first week of the season done and dusted, the race for MVP is starting to take shape. Unsurprisingly, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo are both on the list; the two stars are battling it for the title of the best player in the league. However, one young rookie may have done something only these two can. With their size, running the floor is no problem, and the rookie took off.

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The Toronto Raptors have diminished since the departure of Kawhi Leonard. Currently, in rebuild mode, the team have had a decent start to the season with Fred VanVleet leading. Another major plus has been in their rookie talent, Scottie Barnes. The forward has the size and can run the floor with ease.

Jun 5, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots a three point shot against Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the third quarter of game one in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Barnes put this ability on display when the Raptors faced off against the Orlando Magic. He caught Kendrick Perkins’ eye, who believes only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant could do what the rookie pulled off.

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Scottie Barnes takes off like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant

During the game against Orlando, Barnes got a rebound early in the second quarter. While many would think he would pass the ball, the rookie took it all by himself. Barnes went from coast to coast in no time and flushed down a ferocious dunk to finish the play. Perkins believes only Durant and Giannis are capable of doing something like that, given the similarities in their size.

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The number 4 pick has been impressive so far for Toronto; he is averaging 17 points per game along with 8 rebounds. Barnes is also extremely athletic, which allows him to dominate on the inside, justifying his 53% field goal percentage. While he isn’t as tall as a Kevin Durant or Giannis, Scottie has the speed and the athleticism to match their style in some way.

The Raptors just about took the win against Magic. They won the game 110-109, with Barnes showing out. He scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, shooting 64% from the field. Moreover, his contributions on the defensive end were right there with 2 steals and a block to his name. He is making a case to be a top candidate for Rookie of the Year. If he can continue this run, there is a chance he takes that honor home.

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Anuj Talwalkar

501 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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