The Toronto Raptors have traditionally had a type when it comes to the NBA Draft.
They're an organization that loves defensive versatility, length, and hustle. When they aren't going after high IQ veteran guards, they've been all over multi-skilled wings like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. This year, few players at the top of the draft fit that description better than Florida State's Scottie Barnes who the Raptors have interviewed during the pre-draft process.
"The conversation I think went very well," Barnes said.
Barnes is a 6-foot-9, 227-pound defensive star that may be able to sneak into that top four or five players in the draft. He averaged 10.3 points, four rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game during his freshman season, but his impact on the floor is far more than just box score stats.
"The package of length, versatility, and effort should make him a stellar defender. There’s enough room for optimism on offense that Barnes should go high in the draft, and if there’s a prospect who could break up the consensus top five, it’s him," Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo wrote.
On the defensive end, Barnes would add to Toronto's wing depth. His defensive intensity is exactly what Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has always loved and would give him another option to throw at opposing superstars.
The big question about Barnes is his offensive repertoire. He shot just 27.5% from behind the arc on just 1.7 three-point attempts per game. While he ranked above-average in transition scoring, his half-court scoring was in the 39th percentile and his pick-and-roll handling ranked in the 47th percentile, per Synergy. In today's NBA, when offense, especially playoff half-court offense is so valuable, it would take some significant development for Barnes to become the kind of two-way player teams are thirsting for at the top of the lottery.
While Barnes is certainly an intriguing prospect in today's NBA with switch-everything defensive lineups, he probably isn't the best fit for Toronto right now. The Raptors already have plenty of defensive versatility, especially in the wings, and adding Barnes doesn't make a ton of sense. If the Raptors had stayed at No. 7, Barnes would have been a very solid choice, but with the fourth pick this year, Toronto would be wise to target offensive shot creation rather than defensive versatility.