The Toronto Raptors nailed it when they said no to all of the pre-draft predictors and drafted Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs. In an age where so many teams have elite power forwards, the Raptors may have stumbled upon their next big thing in the Florida State product.
Averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game is one thing, and winning Rookie of the Year is another. Doing so on a team that won 48 games in a year where they weren’t expected to make the playoffs shows the kind of impact he can have on a club.
The Raptors can take solace in the fact that they have a player so valuable that even the prospect of acquiring Kevin Durant isn’t enough to make them think about giving up on him. The Raptors under Masai Ujrii don’t miss too often on first-round draft picks, and Barnes is no exception.
We’ve taken a look at nearly every other position in the league, and now it’s time to see where Barnes stacks up when compared to the other power forwards in this league. Will Barnes find himself in the top 10, or will the Raptors star be on the outside looking in?
Tier 7: Rookies/Replacement Level
30. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
29. Jabari Smith, Houston Rockets
28. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
27. Jarred Vanderbilt, Utah Jazz
26. Marvin Bagley, Detroit Pistons
25. Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers
24. Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
All three of those rookies, especially Banchero, after a dominant Summer League showing, will be solid long-term pieces for their respective teams. However, it’s tough to place them on a list like this, given the uncertainty around how they will be used in their debut seasons.
Vanderbilt may be considered Rudy Gobert filler by some, but that’s doing a disservice to his solid defense. Bagley and Smith were balling with their new squads in Detroit and Indiana, but we’ll need to see one more season before we declare them stars. Williams could also vaunt up this list if he recovers from an injury.
Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes is better than Kyle Kuzma.
Tier 6: Serviceable, if uninspiring
23. Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder
22. PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets
21. Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns
20. Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards
Bazley can put up solid numbers, but he might be relegated to a background role now that Chet Holmgren has joined him in the Oklahoma City frontcourt. Washington is about as average a starting power forward as you’ll see in the East, even though James Borrego’s style may have been holding him back.
Crowder might not have the gaudiest numbers in the world, but he’s been a consistent starter for a consistent winner in Phoenix. Kuzma might be playing his trade for the most mediocre team in the league in the perpetually .500 Wizards, but his touch inside the paint has been surprisingly effective.