If Raptors’ Scottie Barnes and Magic’s Jalen Suggs are rivals, someone forgot to tell them


A day before facing hated rival Jalen Suggs for the first time as a professional, Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes had harsh words for Orlando Magic goaltender.

“As a basketball player he’s really talented,†Barnes said Thursday. “He can shoot the ball, drive. He gets to the basket, is very fast, plays very hard and does everything he can whenever he’s down.”

Hmm. OKAY. I guess those words weren’t particularly harsh. But what about his personality?

“Great kid,†Barnes said.

Oh. Eh.

“I would say as a friend he’s a loving person, he has an open heart,†Barnes continued. “He’s a great person you can talk to,†Barnes said. “I could call him anytime and he can talk to me and show me a lot of love.”


Barnes and Suggs could be linked forever due to their respective draft positions. The Raptors picked Barnes at No.4 last July, surprising many fans, executives and analysts who thought they were taking Suggs. Orlando took Suggs with the following choice.

That night at the Barclays Center, Barnes and Suggs saw each other in a back room. “We were so proud of each other,†Barnes said. “We’re a family. Like we’re together, we’ve known each other since I was 15, 14, and we’re really connected and bonded. So we were very happy for each other.”

In 2019, Barnes and Suggs (and No.1 pick Cade Cunningham) were teammates with the USA squad for the FIBA ​​U19 World Cup. During the Summer League, Suggs said Barnes has an “infectious” personality and is “someone you want to be with.”

Barnes said Suggs was “like a brother to me” and that they knew each other’s families. On Friday they will be “competing at the highest level, trying to get the best out of each other”. However, he didn’t seem particularly interested in the fact that he and his friend were pitted against each other by fans on the internet.

“Social media is going to do their job,†he said, adding that “I don’t think it really matters to either of us. We’re both happy the for each other. We just wish each other the best of luck. “

Unsurprisingly, Toronto coach Nick Nurse said he hadn’t given much thought to Barnes’ history against Suggs. He admitted, however, that there was a reason this showdown would attract attention.

“I think it makes sense that this is one thing,†Nurse said. “It was probably the one place in the draft that people really focused on. I think for a long time everyone thought it would probably go the other way, and it turned out the way it did. . So there will definitely be a part of that, I imagine. “

Nurse said he was focusing on developing Barnes. He’s hoping the Raptors keep Suggs – and the rest of the Magic – well, and he wants Barnes to think Goal when driving towards the cart. Barnes confirmed this: “He’s right on me everyday, just trying to tell me to attack the rim, be more physical, drive aggressively and just try to get those looks.”

In another timeline, maybe Suggs merges with Canadian currency and Barnes becomes familiar with Disney World. Given the way Barnes talks about Suggs, however, it’s hard to imagine a universe with bad blood in here.

Also, it’s already evident that Barnes’ skills make him an ideal Raptor. He said he recognized him when Toronto prepared him before the draft.

“Defense, winning basketball, having a high IQ, being versatile, being long, athletic, that fits perfectly into the organization, with its principles,†said Barnes. “So it was like a perfect match.”


About Rodney Fletcher

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