Scottie Barnes selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Draft

FSU freshman Scottie Barnes
FSU freshman Scottie Barnes(Miguel A. Olivella Jr. | ACC)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 8:26 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Toronto Raptors have selected Florida State freshman forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Thursday night.

Barnes averaged 10.3 points per game for the Seminoles as a freshman last season, along with 4.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds per contest. He was an All-ACC Third Team selection and was named the ACC Sixth Man of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year by ACC coaches and media.

“This is a great place for Scottie to begin his NBA career,” Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said. “He’s just what Toronto needs. Great place for him. Great coach. Great organization. It is a great place for him to start. They have won a World Championship. The Raptors organization has a winning DNA. He is going to be a great teammate. We are all very excited for him and looking forward to him being a great NBA player.”

Scottie Barnes was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2021 NBA Draft
Scottie Barnes was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2021 NBA Draft(WCTV)

Barnes’ selection as a top-five pick marks a historic moment for Florida State basketball. With Patrick Williams being selected fourth overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2020 NBA Draft, he and Barnes become the first Seminoles to ever be top-five picks in consecutive NBA Drafts. Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State, UNC and Syracuse are the only other ACC schools to accomplish that feat.

Barnes is also the third Florida State player to be drafted in the lottery (first 14 picks) over the last two years. He follows Williams and Devin Vassell, who went 11th overall to the San Antonio Spurs in 2020.

Barnes becomes the highest-drafted Florida State player ever, tying Williams and Dave Cowens, who went fourth overall to the Boston Celtics in 1970.

Scottie Barnes was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2021 NBA Draft
Scottie Barnes was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2021 NBA Draft(WCTV)

Thursday continues what has been a golden era for Florida State basketball. FSU traditionally hasn’t been a program that frequently churns elite high-school recruits into high NBA Draft picks one year later, but that has begun to change over the last several years.

Before 2016, Florida State never had a single freshman selected in the NBA Draft. Barnes marks the fourth Florida State freshman in the last six years that has not only been drafted but was a top-20 pick.

Florida State freshmen drafted

Malik Beasley201619thDenver Nuggets
Jonathan Isaac20176thOrlando Magic
Patrick Williams20204thSan Antonio Spurs
Scottie Barnes20214thToronto Raptors

In Barnes, the Raptors get a 6-foot-9 versatile forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. Hamilton primarily used him as a point guard after spending his high school days mainly at power forward. At Montverde Academy, Barnes played alongside former Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons Thursday.

Hamilton believed Barnes’ NBA future would be as a primary ball-handler and facilitator, so he began developing him at that role throughout last season. For someone who has never played point guard before, Barnes showcased advanced court vision and a unique feel for the position.

He’s an excellent finisher at the basket, as he shot 62.3% at the rim this past season. Barnes is also a solid pick-and-roll player despite having limited experience as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. In 133 possessions, he averaged 1.1 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, which ranked 11th among draft-eligible prospects.

Barnes has the tools to make an impact on the defensive end immediately. His combination of size, length, athleticism and motor allow him to be extremely disruptive on that end of the court. He averaged 1.5 steals per game for the Seminoles and opponents shot a dismal 32.7% from the field when Barnes was the primary defender.

The two biggest areas of improvement for Barnes are his perimeter shooting and half-court creation. Barnes shot just 27.5% on 3s and 62.1% of free throws this past season. Furthermore, he’s still a bit raw as a shot-creator, especially if he can’t get all the way to the basket.

If Barnes can improve in those two areas, he is a potential All-Star at the next level. If not, he will still carve out a valuable role as a rotational defender and facilitator.

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