While the Toronto Raptors are charging back into the postseason picture on the back of a more balanced offensive attack, they are still very much in contention for a high draft pick. While the recent hot streak is encouraging, this roster still has some incredibly huge holes that Masai Ujiri needs to fix, and Florida State guard Scottie Barnes could help, per a Raptors mock draft.
A player who could jump right into Nick Nurse’s rotation and make plays, Barnes, who is averaging 10.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game, cashed in on his 5-star status by committing to the Seminoles. If he decides to go pro, the mock draft experts think he could be a fit north of the border.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, the Raptors, picking ninth in this mock, will use their lottery pick on Barnes, who is making his presence known in several ways during his short career in Tallahassee.
Toronto Raptors mock draft target Scottie Barnes could start instantly
Barnes is a basketball chameleon, able to slice through a defense with blinding speed, conduct an offense in the half-court, and use his size to absorb contact down low. In an incredibly complimentary quote, Wasserman compared the impact that Barnes has on the game to that of Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.
He’s in the Draymond Green mold, similar in terms of how they impact games. At 6’9″, 227 pounds, Barnes is used to quarterback the offense, as well as pick up and pressure opposing ball-handlers full-court.
Barnes is a remarkably refined player for someone his age, as his rebounding, court vision, and defensive effort are already exceptional. Barnes is playing point guard despite his immense frame, ending up on the watch list for the Bob Cousy award despite being as tall as 6-9 Chris Boucher, who plays center, while weighing over 25 pounds more.
Raptors fans concerned about Barnes’ limited tangible offensive game away from the basket can take solace in the fact that Leonard Hamilton is his coach. Hamilton has helped four players, including two 2020 draftees in Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell, get drafted in the lottery. Williams has become a starter in Chicago, while Vassell developed into an excellent shooter.
Under Hamilton, Barnes will certainly learn how to play defense and improve his basketball IQ. Once Hamilton fixes his shot, Barnes could turn into a lethal matchup in the pros, even for seasoned veterans.
Barnes might need to take a while to fully blossom on the offensive end, but a 6-9 guard with the ability to handle the ball, defend multiple positions, and use his athleticism to streak down the court for easy transition baskets will make him a valued draft commodity. Under Nurse, Barnes could become a potential All-Star in the first few years of his career.
If he ends up being anywhere as good as Green, like Wasserman believes, the Raptors would’ve made a fantastic selection.