Picture of Scottie Barnes to highlight Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant and I would never do that trade.

Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant, Why I would not do that Trade?

Why I would not trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant?  I have been thinking about this question for a while now as the rumors continue swirl.  It is interesting to see and hear many pundits say that the Raptors are crazy not to trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant as he is one of the top 15 players of all time. 

However, I think a lot of this push is a result of social media and many people getting exciting about some trade activity.  But it gets to the point where a player’s value is over inflated and they think any team should do anything to get him.  Great player, yes but all time no way!  I can easily think of 15 players I would put ahead of him just from the 80’s till now.  But I digress. 

Fortunately, the Raptors front office is not influenced by media pressure and will not put Scottie Barnes in any trade for Durant.  That is smart and they probably see what I see and more.  Some might say that this take is foolish and the Raptors traded Demar for Kawhi and they got a championship and it could work here too!  I say they were totally different circumstances and players so you can’t compare.  Also, if you look at the two players closely, you might see why making that trade is dangerous for the Raptors now and for the future.  Let’s do that.

Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant – Rookie Numbers

Here are Kevin Durant’s Rookie numbers below:

GPGSMINFGFG%3PT3P%FTFT%ORDRREBASTBLKSTLPFTOPTS
808034.67.3-17.143.00.7-2.628.84.9-5.687.30.93.54.42.40.91.01.52.920.3
From ESPN

Here are Scottie Barnes Rookie numbers below:

GPGSMINFGFG%3PT3P%FTFT%ORDRREBASTBLKSTLPFTOPTS
747435.46.2-12.649.20.8-2.630.12.1-2.973.52.64.97.53.50.71.12.61.815.3
From ESPN

When you look at the numbers, the biggest difference you see between their rookie years is that Kevin Durant averaged five points more in scoring. However, if you look at shot attempts, Kevin Durant had 4.5 more shot attempts per game than Scottie Barnes. If Scottie Barnes had the same shot attempts, he would average almost 20 points per game. So the scoring gap closes.

The reason why Durant had more shot attempts was that he was on a 62 loss team that was rebuilding. He had the freedom to take whatever shots he wanted as he was the number one scoring option for his team. Barnes on the other hand was on a team fighting to get into the playoffs and had to work within the Raptors system and hierarchy. He wasn’t first, second or third option. He had to get his shots from broken plays and hustle plays, so his shot attempts were less. However, Barnes has superior rebounding, assist and steal numbers because he had to do those little things to contribute.

Kevin Durant as the number two pick on a lottery team had the freedom to shoot whenever he wanted to and work on his game and make mistakes as the team wanted Durant to get as much playing time and touches to develop. Scottie Barnes on the other hard did not have the luxury to shoot whenever he wanted and had to play winning basketball on both ends as the Raptors were playing for something. You can see that in the shooting percentage and three point percentage numbers as Barnes actually has a higher percentage than Durant. This is because Barnes had to shoot more quality shots. The only shooting numbers Durant beats Scottie in is free throw percentage.

So the take away is that Scottie Barnes’ rookie season in many ways is more impressive than Durant’s as Scottie had to sacrifice a bit to play winning team basketball and he excelled at it. Kevin Durant did not have the same pressure and only needed to focus on playing his game and developing.

Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant – Durant is a Complimentary Player, not a Foundation Player

Kawhi Leonard is a good example of a foundation player. When he was on the Raptors, he was the best scorer, defender and he was the one who always made the big play when it was needed. Also, he became the engine of the team as everything started with him. He was the one who made the shot of shots in game 7 against the sixers to win that series. He was the one who took the primary assignment of defending Giannis to turn the tide of that series and he kept it up to win the championship.

Kevin Durant is a complimentary player. Don’t get me wrong, he is probably one of the best complimentary players ever. However, he cannot be the engine of your team. Why do I say that? Just look at his career. When he played for the Thunder, who was the engine of that team? Who made the team go? It was actually Russell Westbrook, for better or for worst. Durant played in a way that he tried to adapt his game to Westbrook’s. Westbrook always had the ball and Durant had to wait until it was passed to him. Durant wasn’t the player to demand the ball and just takeover . He was not the Alpha on that team and that’s why he left.

His next team, the Golden State Warriors was already a 73 win team. The culture was already established. Yes, Durant won two finals MVPs with them but who was the foundation; who was the engine? It was Steph Curry. Yes, this was his team and Durant complimented his team. And when he left, Golden state manage to carry on and are the current NBA champions. You do not become champions again shortly after losing a foundation piece, but Durant is not that.

Further proof, is when he went to Brooklyn. His first year doesn’t count because he was injured but his last two years, he has failed to carry his team far in the playoffs. He has had his moments but he is not the engine. He doesn’t elevate others play and even though he can score a lot of points, it doesn’t translate to winning. For example, they were swept in four games by Boston this past year. Former teammate Goran Dragic even mentioned that Durant and Irving played selfish basketball and they did not play as a team. A foundation piece plays team basketball and is the player that makes everything go.

Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant – Scottie Barnes is a Foundation Player

In one year, Scottie Barnes has changed the culture and the outlook for the Raptors. His magnetic personality, his enthusiasm and his upbeat attitude is infectious. You saw the Barnes effect right from summer league as he was cheering his players from the bench pushing them to win with all his might. This continued through to the season and even into the playoffs. As the result of Barnes, the Raptors overachieved and made the 5th seed. In game one of the playoffs, while the rest of the team was struggling, he was having a great game and on his way to a triple double until Embiid crushed his angle. Barnes, would later come back a couple games later on basically one ankle and help the Raptors win two games to make it a series before losing in six games. This despite Fred playing injured and eventually sitting and Gary Trent being really sick for the first few games. If Barnes doesn’t get injured, this series would probably had ended differently.

This is why he is a foundation player. He raises the play of everyone. When he is playing, he adds fuel to the team and they play better. He is also willingly to do whatever is needed to help his team win whether be scoring, rebounding, passing, defending or cheering. As a result, the Raptors are looked at as a team that is on the rise and potentially ready for a deep run as early as next year. The Raptors’ retooling timeline has greatly been shorten by Scottie Barnes and as a result the Raptors are a threat to win it all this year. That is a foundation player.

Conclusion

You do not trade your foundation player for a complimentary player. Scottie Barnes is a foundation player and if you trade him, you lose your engine or heart of the team. Kevin Durant is the perfect complimentary player as he can adapt his game to any player. However, if the Raptors trade Barnes for him, he has a tough time taking on that foundation role and elevating his players around him. With what you have to give up in a trade to get him, the Raptors might actually end up weaker now and hinder their future to get better.

The reality is that the Raptors have found a foundation player they can build around for the next decade or more. These type of players do not come around very often. Now all you do is put the right complimentary players around him and you are set to contend for the foreseeable future. The Toronto Raptors are doing that and the team is looking good. And that is why I would never trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant. However, if you can get Durant without trade Scottie Barnes, now that’s a different story!

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