How important should Scottie Barnes’ disastrous preseason be?

When our expectations of Scottie Barnes collide with the realities of preseason, who wins? And who loses?

There are countless sayings that describe how our own expectations can ruin our experiences.

"If you expect nothing from somebody, you are never disappointed." - Sylvia Plath

"Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good." - Voltaire (probably)

And as sports fans, we are constantly overwhelmed by the weight of own expectations. Their fulfilment breeds short-term jubilation and further, heavier, longer-term expectations; because the Raptors have been surpassing even the most optimistic expectations for several seasons, fans accordingly expect more and more. Which brings us to Scottie Barnes.

Booed out of the gate for not being Jalen Suggs, Barnes quickly became as exciting as exciting can be, from off-hand skyhooks for his first NBA points to flashy drives and look-back dunks. He carries himself with the panache of a champion without having won one. His confidence probably looks like arrogance to opposing fans, but that's a good thing in the world of organized sports. Barnes won Rookie of the Year and the hearts of all Toronto, and probably not in that order.

When you're on top of the world, there's nowhere to go but down. Barnes found that out this preseason. The brunt of Raptors fandom surely hasn't turned on him, because no one is really watching preseason other than the most die-hard of fans. But eventually fans have a way of turning on those they love the most: the most exciting, the youngest, the most promising -- whoever doesn't immediately fulfill those gaudy expectations. Just ask Fred VanVleet or Pascal Siakam or O.G. Anunoby.

During preseason, process is far more important than results. And it's important to keep in mind that not a whole lot of players are trying, which makes it difficult to know if someone got faster, for example, or if his defender is just dogging it. But given all the cavalcade of caveats, it's still shocking how out of place Barnes has looked at times.

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