Scottie Barnes locked down James Harden in pickup and earned props from The Beard

The NBA is lastly experiencing a ‘regular’ offseason after the interval between the final two seasons has been accelerated due to the pandemic. That is the primary time for the reason that 2019 that there’s been an actual down interval within the league, and which means a return to the summer season exercise movies that often supplies the NBA’s solely leisure in August.

Just a few years again, we detailed Ben Simmons ripping jumpers and Anthony Davis dealing with the ball like a guard of their summer season exercise movies. That’s partially as a result of summer season is a time for experimentation and testing out the boundaries of a participant’s ability set. For some gamers, although, summer season runs are about getting again to what you do greatest. That’s actually the case for reigning Rookie of the Yr Scottie Barnes as he took half within the famed Rico Hines pickup video games in Los Angeles.

Hines is understood for bringing out the celebrities to his LA open runs, and over the previous couple of weeks James Harden, Pascal Siakam, Tyrese Haliburton, Montrezl Harrell, and others have been a part of the group So was the 21-year-old Barnes, who introduced his signature mixture of protection and depth to pickup. Barnes’ protection on Harden was so spectacular that it went viral over the weekend.

You possibly can watch the total run on YouTube. There are a variety of acquainted faces from the Toronto Raptors sharing the courtroom collectively on this explicit run, together with OG Anunoby, Thad Younger, and Gary Trent Jr.

Along with Barnes’ implausible protection, right here’s a clip of him blocking Harden on a drive.

After the run, Harden gave Barnes props for taking part in so onerous on this setting. Harden gave Barnes maybe the largest praise one hooper may give one other by saying he’s ‘acquired that canine in him.

In fact, Harden additionally had his moments with Barnes defending him earlier within the week on the Hines runs. Harden goes to hit his stepbacks on anybody, irrespective of how good your protection is.

Each Harden and Barnes are at fascinating inflection factors of their careers heading into this season. Harden is again in Philadelphia after taking a large pay-cut to re-sign with the Sixers earlier this summer season. Final we noticed Harden, he was nonetheless an All-Star caliber participant, however not the identical perennial MVP candidate who dominated the NBA (common season) for the final seven years. Because the Sixers bowed out within the playoffs, teammate Joel Embiid mentioned Harden isn’t the identical participant he as soon as was in Houston.

Can Harden regain his All-NBA type? Step one will probably be displaying he nonetheless has the identical burst with the basketball that he was as soon as recognized for. It positive doesn’t seem like he can burn Barnes off the bounce.

In the meantime, Barnes’ title has been loosely tied to the Kevin Durant commerce rumors all summer season. The Raptors can doubtless land Durant in a commerce in the event that they half with Barnes. Up to now, they haven’t been prepared to do this. For as nice as Barnes was final yr, he’ll need to keep away from the sophomore droop and proceed to enhance his recreation if he doesn’t need followers questioning why they stored him as an alternative of creating a transfer for KD.

At the very least Barnes and Harden don’t have beef like Paolo Banchero and Dejounte Murray over a pickup run. That is simply good, clear competitiveness in a summer season setting. The NBA offseason actually is again to regular.