Draymond Green has high praise for Raptors' Barnes: 'Scottie will do way more than I ever did in my career'

The four-time NBA champion sees big things ahead for the "face of the franchise" in Toronto.

Despite being a
Despite being a "Swiss Army knife," it's on Barnes to continue to improve his ability to score, says Green. (Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images and Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

TORONTO — Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has some very encouraging words about Scottie Barnes, calling him a “special, special, special talent” and “an incredible player.”

The praise came after a question about how Barnes has been able to grow in the role of point-forward this season, one that Green has excelled in throughout his NBA career, which has helped him secure four NBA championships. Despite the accomplishments that Green has compiled — which includes the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year award and four All-Star appearances— he sees an even brighter future for the 22-year-old in Toronto.

“Scottie will do way more than I ever did in my career,” said Green post-game on Friday, after the Warriors beat the Raptors, a game in which Barnes suffered a fracture in his hand.

Green’s ability to play the point guard role at his height of 6-foot-6, while still holding his own as a forward on the defensive end, has been a unique trait the Warriors have relied on throughout his career. Playing the point-forward position is something that he now wants to see carried on by young players in the league, like Barnes, who is making his teammates better this season thanks to his aggressive style of play, says Green.

“You come in this league and you hope to leave your mark. Me playing the point-forward position, I'm not going to sit up here and act like I was the first person to do it, but I think I've done it a little differently than most. He'll take that to a whole other level,” said Green.

As “the face of the franchise,” Green says that Barnes will continue to have to focus on scoring the basketball. Even though he’s a “Swiss Army knife,” as the go-to guy it’ll be on him to put the ball in the hole. Green notes that Barnes is bigger than him and way more athletic, which should give him an advantage to be better.

“When you come into this league, one of our O.Gs used to tell me … ‘You owe it to this game to leave the game in a better place than it was when he found it.’ And for me to see guys like Scottie Barnes, like in that mold … you have a strong appreciation for it.”

Along with taking on more point-forward responsibilities, Barnes is averaging a career-high in points (20), rebounds (8.3) and assists (6.1), while shooting a career-high from downtown (34 per cent). It's helped him secure his first all-star appearance this year as a reserve for the Eastern Conference.

Raptors head coach Darko Rajaković praised Green pre-game, calling him “a champion, simple as that.” Along with being the “heart and soul,” of the Warriors, he applauded his passing offence, which he says Scottie can learn from, along with every other forward in the league.

“There are some similarities there, and some things that Scottie can pick up from his game,” said Rajaković.