The Toronto Raptors were more than thrilled with their selection of Scottie Barnes over expected No. 4 pick Jalen Suggs in the 2021 NBA Draft because of his ability to handle multiple roles on the offensive end and his potential to become an elite defender very early into his career.
However, if there is one issue that hangs over the Barnes selection, it’s his ability to shoot. In a league relying more than every on jump-shooting from the perimeter, Barnes was not only unable to excel in this asset, but he was genuinely poor in this regard for large chunks of his only season at Florida State.
If Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri are going to get the most out of him, Barnes will need to work on overhauling his offensive game and becoming a more effective and efficient shooter. Based on what he said at Media Day, it looks like No. 4 is well on his way to correcting that flaw.
Barnes has already overhauled his shooting mechanics, claiming that he is now pushing the ball off of his index and middle fingers while moving his elbow closer to his body. The early returns seem to be promising, as he claims to feel more comfortable with this look as the reps increased.
Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes has changed his mechanics.
Barnes made just 27% of his 3-point attempts in Summer League play, but he looked more willing to rise up from 3-point range than he was during his time with the Seminoles. He needs to fix this issue, mostly because his Vegas performances looked like that of a player ready to make a major NBA impact during his rookie season.
Barnes’ defense translated very well to the pro level, as he averaged one steal and two blocks per contest. When combined with his non-stop motor, endless wingspan, and tremendous feel for the game despite his tender age, it’s hard to be anything less than impressed with how Barnes played.
The offseason addition of Barnes was supplemented by the selection of Dalano Banton and David Johnson in the draft along with Precious Achiuwa in the Kyle Lowry swap. None of these players are amazing shooters at this moment in time, meaning Ujiri is placing a great deal of trust in Nurse and his developmental staff’s ability to fix their jumpers.
Barnes might be raw on the offensive end, but it’s rare to see someone come into the league and be as effective as on the defensive end as he can be. If Barnes makes strides as a shooter, capturing Rookie of the Year might not be such a farfetched goal.