The 20-year-old received 378 points (48 first-place votes) from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters ahead of Cleveland Cavaliers forward-center Evan Mobley who finished in second place with 363 points (43 first-place votes). The 15-point difference between the two marks the smallest margin in NBA Rookie of the Year balloting under the current voting format, which began with the 2002-03 season.
Barnes, who was selected fourth overall by the Raptors in the 2021 NBA Draft, becomes the third player in franchise history to win the award, joining Vince Carter (1998-99) and Damon Stoudamire (1995-96).
“We are incredibly proud of Scottie, and are thrilled and grateful that his hard work has been recognized with this honour,” said Toronto Raptors Vice-Chairman and President Masai Ujiri in a statement provided by the team.
In 74 games this season, Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.08 steals, 0.74 blocks and 35.4 minutes (first among all rookies) and was the only rookie to rank in the top five in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
He was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month twice (February and March/April) and participated in the Rising Stars and Taco Bell Skills Challenge during NBA All-Star in Cleveland. He became the first Raptors rookie — and only rookie in the NBA this season — to record 1,000+ points, 500+ rebounds and 250+ assists in their first year.
Shortly before the NBA announced that Barnes had won the award, the team said he was available to play in Game Four of the Raptors must win game against the Philadelphia 76ers, where they currently trail 0-3. Barnes had been out with an ankle injury that he suffered in Game One of the first round series a week ago.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.