The Toronto Raptors were expected to take Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, they once again subverted expectations when they ended up taking Florida State stud Scottie Barnes, intrigued by his versatility, defense, and potential on both ends.
Barnes averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game last year for Leonard Hamilton and the Seminoles. While some Raptors fans might be in disarray because Suggs was taken by the Orlando Magic right after Toronto passed on him, Barnes has plenty of traits worth developing.
Barnes, who has already spoken at length about how he would love to play in Toronto because of their ability to make players better will be an impact defensive player on Day 1, and he could be an All-Star level NBA player at both the point guard and power forward positions.
Here are 3 things Raptors fans can take solace in, as the newest member of the team has enough physical and mental ability to mesh perfectly with what Toronto wants to do in both the immediate and long-term future.
3 things Scottie Barnes brings to the Toronto Raptors
Barnes will be able to contribute instantly on this end of the floor the very second that he arrives in Toronto. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire class, able to ignite a fastbreak with a well-timed steal and use his oversized frame for the position to defend even the most difficult of scorers outside.
Barnes has the 7-3 wingspan needed to completely shut down bigger players in the post while possessing enough athletic ability and intuition on the defensive side of the ball to stay out on the perimeter full-time. This front office LOVES versatility, and you won’t find a more versatile player in this draft than Barnes.
While some prospects will need to learn the finer points of offense upon their arrival to the pros, Barnes will enter with some tremendous passing ability the very second he arrives in Toronto. Be it as a traditional point guard or off-ball play maker, the Raptors should be very pleased with how they make key passes on the perimeter and off of penetrations inside.
While the Raptors lacked interior rebounding and shot-blocking, they also missed Marc Gasol’s ability to distribute the ball, and Barnes will be able to perform point guard-like passes with a power forwards body. When paired with plus athletic ability and a penchant for finishing tough looks inside, Barnes could be a force on the offensive end.
3. Limitless Potential
The only thing standing in the way of Barnes becoming a major star in this league is his inability to shoot from the perimeter consistently. Luckily, he is going to a Raptors team that has made a habit out of turning players with no touch outside into snipers, so the potential to turn things around.
Imagine if Barnes learns how to shoot consistently. Toronto would’ve drafted a 6-9 point forward with speed, passing, elite defense at several positions, and a non-stop motor. That’s worth a No. 4 pick.