Raptors select Scottie Barnes 4th overall in 2021 NBA Draft

·NBA reporter
·2 min read

The Toronto Raptors made the surprise decision to select Florida State point forward Scottie Barnes fourth overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.

The 19-year-old Barnes is an athletic marvel, standing at 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that promises elite defensive versatility at the next level. His draft combine measurements mirror some of the best defenders in the league, with Barnes essentially being a physical clone of OG Anunoby. Barnes is raw offensively, but showed tight handles and clever passing playing as a supersized point guard in college. 

The main concern with Barnes is his scoring, or lack thereof. He dominates in transition and his length and athleticism allow him to thrive near the rim, but he will struggle with the other areas of his game. Barnes doesn't have a go-to move that allows him to score in the halfcourt, and more importantly, there is little track record of success with his jumpshot. He was 11-for-40 from deep in 24 games this season and it will be a true test of the Raptors' development staff to add a reliable shot to his game.

But then again, the Raptors aren't drafting for their immediate needs. On the eve of the draft, general manager Bobby Webster reiterated that they would explore all options with their pick, but that they would ultimately use it on the prospect they believed to be the best player in three or four seasons. If Barnes adds a jumper, and he continues to fill out on his already impressive frame, he can become the type of versatile two-way player that every team covets.

The unavoidable question is what this means for the Raptors moving forward, because Barnes plays the same position as Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Barnes isn't starting-caliber just yet, so he could just come off the bench in the meantime, but it's strange to have three core players sharing the same position, which does add more fuel to the trade speculation around Siakam. 

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