Raptors forward Scottie Barnes discusses his performance against the Miami Heat and what Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet texted him during the most recent road trip.
- Go ahead with questions.
- Scottie, it looked like you were taking what the defense was giving you early in the game. Those jumpers knocked down a few of them early. How much does that help, from a confidence standpoint, to see the ball go to the net early in the game like that?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I feel like I always really try to start the game aggressive. But of course, it feels really good. When some shots start to fall, it gives you more energy, more juice. So I feel like it's a great feeling to start off the game making shots, being able to get things going. I feel like it's been-- it felt really good.
- Is that--
- Sorry, go.
- Go ahead.
- Is that the type of thing where if you see one or two fall, you'll keep on going with it, and if not, it's, like, time to find something else, or?
SCOTTIE BARNES: No. I feel like when I-- no matter what the solution is, I'm always keep trying to play harder and try to get to bag it next play, just keep trying to stay aggressive, stay confident, keep trying to do what I work on. I feel like I work on my game a lot. So everybody always try to tell me to stay confident, be who I am on the floor, try to bring energy. Shots not falling, try to find a different way to do things. But eventually, today, it was falling.
- Scottie, when you're weighing that, kind of, take a jumper or drive, are you more so focused on your defender and how much space he's giving you? Or are you more so looking at the second line of defense when you make that decision?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I don't really know. I'm just playing the game. If I see somebody in the game really heavy, I'm just making reads. If I see somebody draw off from a corner, I'm trying to find different things. Whatever a defense is giving me, feeling what I'm trying to-- that's what I'm taking. Most of the time, I'm really trying to get to the rim, really be aggressive, start off there, and then try to get everything going from there.
- With Siakam out and also Fred out for some of these games, trying to like-- a lot more has been on your shoulders these past few games. Do you embrace that challenge of having to do more, especially offensively? Or has it gotten frustrating at times to just be asked to do so much?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I don't think it's been frustrating at all. Of course, I'm gonna really embrace it, be who I am on the floor. I feel like I can-- of course, the ball is in my hand a little more when those two are out, but just trying to take the game how it is, trying to make the right reads, trying to really be aggressive every time I get it. I'm just trying to do the right things when I'm out there on the floor. I would say I back down from it. I really embrace it, like I said.
- Scottie, I know you're a confident guy and something that Thad was talking about the other day too, that that confidence doesn't really waver. But how much does it help to have vets like that, or Fred, or Pascal to sort of kind of help keep you balanced here. I know you've had a bit of a shooting slump.
SCOTTIE BARNES: I would say I feel like it's a big thing. I remember on the road, Pascal, Fred telling me, stay being aggressive, be grateful. Them boy's giving me the confidence when I'm out there on the floor. I feel like that's a big thing. I feel like I really took that to heart. Them boys texted me. They're at home doing what they trying to do to get better. They're at home telling me that. I feel like that's a big thing, Thad telling me to keep being aggressive, don't take things-- keep the pressure on your shoulders. I feel like that's a big thing. Everybody just giving me that confidence, from the coaches to the players, having that support staff around me. I feel like that's helpful.
- I know you've tweaked the ankle a few times over the last few weeks. Is that something that's been bothering you at all?
SCOTTIE BARNES: No, not at all.
- Scottie, like a lot of people on the outside look at things a little differently cause it's your second year. So, you know, you had slumps last year and not making a big deal of it cause everything was so new. Do you look at yourself a little differently? Like, are your own expectations a little higher? And, you know, so if you go through a rough patch, you can handle a little differently than you did a year ago?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I don't know. I feel like my rookie year went kind of smooth, you know what I'm saying? But, yeah, of course, I feel like the first thing is taking on the challenge. You could see that I'm in a bit of a shooting slump. I realize that. I recognize that. But, psh, just trying to stay confident, you know, get through it, keep trying to be aggressive, trust your work, trust your craft. And I feel like that's what's gonna really get me through it every single day. Don't try to really get down on myself, trying to just push through it. What you work on is gonna show. I feel like to work, it's gonna show.
- Scottie, what are the main things you're learning with your reps at the point this year, say, compared to last year, especially now with Pascal out?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I would say I'm still trying to f-- I'm still figuring things out, say, recognizing through our film. I feel like we've been having some tough third quarters, just recognizing when and where that momentum changes, what I can do better in those situations.
I feel like that's when the key things I'm-- you could see I'm still learning out there, just trying to find those pinpoints of what I could do differently, how I can get us into offensive set better, trying to make those right plays. I feel like I'm still learning. And with the more reps I get, I'm just getting better. And I feel like I'm making great reads when I'm out there on the floor. But like I said, I'm still getting better.