Scottie Barnes is not Magic Johnson. Don't let the baby skyhook he showed on opening night fool you. At 20 years old, the Toronto Raptors' 6-foot-9 rookie has a ways to go before he's even in that conversation.
That being said, the parallels are eery.
"He can play the point as a preliminary or secondary point guard. He can bring the ball up and run the offense. He can do that kind of stuff," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of Barnes. "Can play the five too."
That's exactly what Toronto was hoping for on draft night when they selected Barnes fourth overall. The Raptors were looking for a dynamic two-way player who could handle the ball as a lead guard or move up a few spots and man the center spot in a pinch.
The only knock on Barnes coming out of Florida State was his shooting. He shot 27.5% from three-point range and there were some scouts who thought he'd never develop an adequate jumper. Nurse, however, disagreed.
“I think he is going to be a really good shooter someday," Nurse said. "For somebody that people say he needs to work on this or can’t shoot or whatever. Well, it looks pretty good coming off his hands and all those things and he’s got a good work ethic so those things go hand in hand over time to where he’ll develop into a decent shooter. He has been good."
It's still early and Barnes is only 1-for-6 from three-point range, but he's been effective in the mid-range, and with some more time developing in the Raptors' system Barnes should be able to step out a little further and make a difference as a true do-it-all forward.