It’s been a couple of days since the Toronto Raptors drafted Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Many Raptor fans were surprised with the selection, as Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, who was taken by the Orlando Magic, was still available and Pascal Siakam is still on the team at the power forward spot.
It would’ve been nice to have Suggs on the team, although Barnes is a really good prospect in his own right. With his athleticism, finishing, and defensive potential, he will be an impact player right away.
Barnes is being compared to players like Draymond Green, OG Anunoby, and even Siakam. He can defend and pass the ball well, and he can post up like an old school center, but the biggest weakness in his game is his shooting. Barnes’ jump shot looks a bit awkward.
Despite that, fans should not worry about his shooting concerns too much because he’s in the right environment to improve the shot. Look at Siakam and Anunoby. When they first entered the league, they weren’t good shooters, and Barnes might be the next project for Nick Nurse to develop.
Barnes has the potential to be a good NBA player in the league, but how would he fit with the Raptors? And how would he fit alongside Siakam? Surprisingly, they could work quite well together.
Will the Toronto Raptors play Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes together?
Since Siakam can play both the power forward and center positions, albeit with varying degrees of success, and Barnes can play both forward positions, that makes it easier for them to play with each other.
If Nurse plays a line-up that involves Anunoby, Siakam, and Barnes, it will be tough for opponents to score on the Raptors. That combination of length, athletic ability, and hustle on the defensive end will be tough for perimeter players and bigs considering how they could switch onto multiple different players.
What if the Toronto Raptors wanted to play a bigger lineup?
They can do a bigger lineup with Barnes at small forward and Siakam at power forward. The trade-off, of course, is that the Raptors may struggle to generate easy looks for themselves on the offensive side of the ball.
Whether the center is Khem Birch or someone else they get in free agency, it might be hard to create on offense. At least with the small-ball lineup, it will be quicker and smoother, allowing the Raptors to push the pace.
If Coach Nurse decides to have Siakam start and Barnes off the bench, Siakam can be the guy that focuses on his offense most of the time since Barnes isn’t a great shooter yet and Siakam has proven he can be a leading scorer.
If there is a scenario that they don’t work well together, they put themselves in a position to trade Siakam to another team without worrying about finding Siakam’s replacement because they have Barnes on their roster.
If they come to this realization before the season, he could be a valuable trade chip that gets moved in exchange for a star.
Despite the majority of Raptor fans wanting Suggs, Barnes is still a good pickup for the Toronto Raptors. While his shooting ability is uncertain, he will be a good defender in the league. Barnes and Siakam will be a great duo in the NBA. But if there is a chance that their chemistry doesn’t work, the pick isn’t a bust because they are in a position to make a trade for an All-Star type of player, maybe even an MVP caliber player.