The pick may have come as a surprise to most, but the Toronto Raptors got a very unique prospect in Florida State freshman Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
At 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, Barnes has the body of a power forward but that doesn't dictate his play style. When the 19-year-old was on the floor during his lone collegiate season at Florida State, he was legitimately their point guard.
Averaging 10.3 points, 4.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the field, Barnes earned ACC Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and All-ACC Third Team honours. His assists average was good for fifth-best in the conference, while his 98 total assists ranked seventh in the ACC.
While you have a rough idea of the type of player Barnes projects to be in the league, what exactly does he bring to the Raptors?
Barnes is a point guard in the body of a power forward.
You rarely see a player that is 6-foot-9, 225 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan that can handle the ball, read defences and make passes the way the Florida State freshman can.
He's not just a forward that can make the right reads with his back to the basket by finding cutters around him. He will bring the ball up the floor and initiate the offence, using purposeful dribble moves to navigate ball screens and create open looks for his teammates.
His savviness and patience is on full display in this pick-and-roll, where he gets his defender on his hip, sees the roll-man's defender step up and waits for his teammate to get into position for the lob...
...But he also thrives in transition, keeping his head up to find streaking teammates ahead for easy layups.
Because of his size, he's not an ideal matchup for smaller guards and because of his handle, agility and speed, he's a mismatch for most players at his position. He's not a prolific scorer by any means, but he's a physical finisher around the basket and uses his body well to seal defenders on his way to the rim.
And although he's an elite playmaker for his position, where Barnes really thrives is the defensive end.
His height and strength allow him to defend forwards and bigs, but he wouldn't be lost on a switch out on the perimeter, either. His long arms and nose for the ball give him a knack for coming up with steals. He was a jack-of-all-trades for Florida State defensively and his versatility, demeanour, motor and IQ projects well on that end of the floor at the next level.
The potential reward certainly outweighs the potential risk for the franchise that selects Barnes.
Barnes is far from an advanced scorer.
His jump shot is a bit robotic, regardless of range or shot type. He shot 27.5 percent from 3 on 44 attempts in college and he wasn't a great free throw shooter, either, at 62.1 percent. He's an effective dribbler, but he lacks when it comes to go-to moves to create space for his own shot.
For a forward who excels as a creator on the perimeter, he's not all that comfortable working out of the post. He can still pass with his back to the basket, but he doesn't have an array of post moves to get a bucket.
He's a raw project from a scoring standpoint, which could have a trickle-down effect on his playmaking if teams can just sag off of him or religiously go under screens.
Projected NBA Role: Point-forward playmaker
Shades of: Draymond Green, Boris Diaw
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