The Toronto Raptors once again zigged when everyone thought they would zag, as they selected Florida State sensation Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. As a result, the expected No. 4, Gonzaga point guard, Jalen Suggs, was sent to the Orlando Magic with the No. 5 pick.
The Raptors drafted one of the more unknown players in this draft, as Barnes’ skillset is one of the most unique we’ve seen in the last several drafts. His height, wingspan, and lack of great shooting suggest that he is a power forward, but his athletic ability, ball-handling, and passing all scream point guard.
The Raptors need to make sure that the development of Barnes is a smooth process. As high as his ceiling is, his lack of shooting and skill with creating for himself makes his floor concerningly low.
While the Draymond Green comparisons make sense, let’s try to avoid the comparison everyone else has been using. The Raptors could look to these three players as potential futures for Barnes, as they offer a look at what his floor could be, what he may evolve into if everything goes as planned, and the ceiling he could reach if he hits his stride.
NBA comparisons for Toronto Raptors draft pick Scottie Barnes.
Low-End: Jabari Parker
Parker was taken second overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, as the Duke alum figured to create a super-young, super-versatile frontcourt of the future next to Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. While Giannis MORE than panned out, and while Parker averaged 20.1 points per game during his third season at age 21, he never made that leap to stardom.
While an ACL tear did give Parker a major roadblock on his road to success, the fact that he never became the defensive piece the Bucks hoped he would become. On offense, Parker was able to finish at the rim and snipe from midrange, but he was just a 32% 3-point shooter. Sound familiar?
Will Scottie Barnes end up like Jabari Parker?
Barnes might be a better ball-handler than Parker, but he still has a ton of the same concerns. Sure, he defended all five positions in college, but it’s a tall task to go from defending ACC players to the likes of Kyrie Irving and Joel Embiid. If the defense isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, Barnes’ offense might take him down Parker’s path.
While Parker is still carving out a very respectable career as a backup in Boston, he never took off and became a star, and his inability to expand his offensive game or supplement that game with defense was a big reason why. Barnes needs to make improvements to avoid this fate.