The Toronto Raptors surprised some when they used the No. 4 overall pick on Florida State standout Scottie Barnes. Nearly all of the pre-draft pundits had Toronto selecting Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, who was picked immediately after Barnes by the Orlando Magic at No. 5 overall.
Barnes might be a bit of a work in progress as a shooter, but his defensive potential could make him the best player in this class on that end. With the frame of a power forward and ball-handling skills of a point guard, Barnes figures to be a huge part of what Toronto wants to do in the future.
Barnes might not be handed a starting role right away, but Nick Nurse is not about to let a player of his caliber waste away on the bench. Expect Barnes to be given a heavy dose of ball-handling duties and offensive responsibility as a Sixth Man during his first season in the professional ranks.
If Barnes makes the necessary improvements in his shot and starts to create for himself in a slightly more efficient fashion than what we saw during his time with the Seminoles, he could be one of the best rookies in the 2021 class. He could even outscore these three classmates picked in the first 10 picks.
3 Top 10 picks that Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes will outscore.
3. Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Picked with a selection that Chicago handed over to Orlando in the Nikola Vucevic deal, Wagner will almost certainly start the year on the bench, as the return of Jonathan Isaac and emergence of players like Chuma Okeke will keep the Michigan man as a reserve alongside brother Moritz.
Like Barnes, Wagner came in with concerns about his offensive game, as he was never the most dynamic shot-creator with the Wolverines. On top of that, Wagner is getting dropped head-first into life in the NBA with a team full of young players that might contend for the No. 1 pick.
Scottie Barnes could make more of an impact than Franz Wagner
While Orlando may, in theory, give Wagner more shots due to the lack of star talent, Barnes will still be the better scorer, as he will be given a consistent offensive workload on a team that is coached a man in Nurse that has made a habit of generating offense in a flash.
Irrespective of Wagner getting designated as either a small forward or power forward, he might start his rookie season seven or eighth on the depth chart in terms of touches and shots. Throw into that the fact Jamahl Mosley is a rookie head coach, and that situation seems more chaotic than what Barnes has going for him in Toronto.