The lottery gods rewarded the Toronto Raptors, after a down 2020-21 season, with the opportunity to draft Scottie Barnes, a 6'9 forward who projected to be an all-around force. And Barnes played extremely well in his first season, even winning Rookie of the Year honors. However, the 21-year old forward has seen his efficiency numbers falter in his sophomore campaign. Nevertheless, Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant urged everyone to hold their horses when it comes to their criticisms of the young forward.

Speaking with reporters following the Grizzlies' 119-106 win over the Raptors in Toronto, Ja Morant wanted everyone to remain patient with Scottie Barnes, especially given how young he is.

“You've just gotta have patience. I feel like most people don't know what an NBA player goes through. I'm sure he's gonna be fine,” Morant said, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “Don't worry y'all. Everybody's time is different. He'll be special.”

Perhaps the expectations for Barnes following his stellar rookie campaign has skewed everyone's perception regarding an NBA player's development trajectory. A linear path of growth was probably what most pundits expected out of a future star whose potential is through the roof that the Raptors even deemed him untouchable in Kevin Durant trade talks. Alas, that was not to be.

Scottie Barnes has endured a rocky teeter-totter of inconsistency, capable of putting up major numbers one night, and disappearing with a putrid 2-10 performance the next time out. However, that usually comes with the territory when it comes to young players. Even Ja Morant, following a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2019-20, suffered a bit of a drop-off in scoring efficiency the following year.

Nonetheless, the Raptors' struggles as of late haven't helped Barnes at all. Moreover, their odd roster construction as seen in their lack of three-point shooting (ranked 28th in threes per game and 29th in three-point percentage) has made Barnes' life on offense more difficult. Thus, Morant is right in that patience is required, especially as the Raptors try to put the puzzle that is constructing a winning roster together.