The Toronto Raptors provided the first of many curveballs in the 2021 NBA Draft, as they took Florida State forward Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick when it looked like the selection was going to be Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. This move will certainly cause some division among the NBA Draft Grades crowd.
Suggs might be the better player on Day 1, but the Raptors decided to throw off the draft’s equilibrium by taking Barnes, as his potential was just too tantalizing to pass up with their highest draft pick since they took Andrea Bargnani No. 1 overall in 2016.
The Raptors didn’t just take Barnes last night, as they added Nebraska switchblade and native Canadian Dalano Banton with the No. 46 overall pick and followed that selection up with Louisville point guard David Johnson at No. 47 overall. If this is the start of a new era in Toronto, the Raptors chose to retool with some very intriguing prospects.
After a very turbulent last few weeks, it’s time to figure out how the Raptors did on one of their most important draft night in years. Considering the uncertainty surrounding this team, they need these picks to turn into stars.
It is time to play teacher and give the Raptors their report card. How did they do last night?
Toronto Raptors 2021 NBA Draft Grades
No. 4: Scottie Barnes, PF, Florida State
The big acquisition of the night was Barnes, who averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game during his lone season with the Seminoles. While the pick shocked many given how hyped of a prospect Suggs was, Barnes brings plenty of promising traits to the table in the short and long term.
As a rookie, Barnes will be able to defend all five positions, handle the ball, finish easy looks inside, and make key passes. Barnes has two big issues, and they could come back to bite the Raptors if he doesn’t progress the way that they believe he will.
Can Scottie Barnes become a star for the Toronto Raptors?
The lack of consistent shooting is a glaring weakness that could put a very hard cap on his ceiling. With OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam still in the mix, Toronto might find it hard to insert him into the starting lineup. What does the point guard situation look like after passing on Suggs? Will Barnes fill that role?
No one knows what position he will play just yet, but in this era of positionless basketball, that doesn’t mean as much. While concerns over his shooting are legitimate, he should be a plus defender from the first day he puts on red and black, and his ability to plug so many holes make the pick a solid selection this high in the draft.