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Raptors’ Scottie Barnes wins Rookie of the Year in closest vote in decades

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors yells during his warm up before playing the Philadelphia 76ers in their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on April 7, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

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In the final weeks of the season, Scottie Barnes was playing his best basketball of the season for a surging Toronto Raptors team. At the same time, Evan Mobley missed five games due to injury for a Cleveland Cavaliers team that stumbled down the standings into the play-in tournament.

That was fresh in voters’ minds and may have made the difference as Barnes won Rookie of the Year over Mobley in the closest vote since the NBA switched to this format almost two decades ago.

Detroit’s Cade Cunningham finished third. Franz Wager (Orlando) and Herbert Jones (Pelicans) also received votes.

The Raptors got another former Raptors Rookie of the Year, Vince Carter, to break the news.

Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists a game for the Raptors, he played quality defense, plus played more minutes than any other rookie (starting every game he played in for Toronto). He earned this award.

Barnes missed the last two games of the Raptors’ first-round series against the 76ers due to a sprained ankle, but returned in Game 4.