If Scottie Barnes does turn into the star for which the Toronto Raptors hope, his game will look much like it has during this preseason.
During preseason, he has been a generalist, less finding a weakness and punching opponents in it over and over than offering death by a thousand cuts. (Some of those basketball deaths delivered, in fact, by cuts.)
Barnes is one of two players this preseason who averaged, rounding up, at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per 36 minutes. (The other was Bam Adebayo.) In the five preseasons prior, only Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LeBron James reached those marks; this isn't something players can really manage in the preseason unless they are very, very good in the regular season, too. And in his prior two preseasons, Barnes' own per-36 numbers were significantly lower -- particularly in the scoring column, which was just about the same as his regular-season career mark of 15.7 points per 36 minutes. (If you were wondering, by the way, those numbers were virtually identical this year whether Barnes was playing the Cairns Taipans or NBA teams.)
So something has changed for Barnes, or at least appeared to, in Toronto's introductory four contests.
Barnes is obviously physically gifted, and that is relative to his peers in a league full of players with outrageous, superhuman athletic abilities. Barnes is beyond even that. When he unfurls his enormous wingspan, he casts a shadow on the court like arrows blotting out the sun. He has jumped over opponents for finishes and rebounds, thrown passes over arms that were unable to reach high enough in the air, erased shots at the rim upon which he was seemingly looking down.
A fully optimized Barnes will look and play like an adult against children. He will be larger and stronger and faster than anyone else, and he will find advantages 12 feet in the air that are usually not accessible to wings -- err, bigs -- err, point guards -- err, whatever he is.