Skip to main content

Few players in this month's draft have a higher floor than Scottie Barnes.

Without having played a single NBA game, Barnes' defense is already at an NBA level. He's a ferocious on-ball defender who can make life miserable for opposing guards and wings with his 7-foot-2.75 wingspan, the sixth-longest of anyone measured at the combine.

For the Toronto Raptors, who play a chaotic and aggressive style of defense, that kind of skill set is certainly intriguing. It would add another lockdown defender to a team that already has OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet, two of the best defenders at their position in the NBA.

"Rivals teams are assuming the Toronto Raptors will consider [Barnes] at No. 4, especially if they have interest in bringing back Kyle Lowry (making Jalen Suggs less desirable)," according to Bleacher Reports's Jonathan Wasserman.

According to Wasserman, NBA executives are seeing tons of upside in Barnes if he can just sort out his offensive issues. The Florida State product shot just 27.5% from three-point range and produced the bulk of his scoring in transition where points are the easiest to come by.

"There is a belief Barnes has star potential, even if it's the unconventional type," Wasserman wrote. "Scouts see zero downside and only unique upside tied to his 6'8", 225-pound frame, 7'2¾" wingspan, ball-handling and passing for playmaking, and surefire defense."

Toronto has found success with players like Barnes before, usually toward the end of the first round when every prospect comes with some sort of developmental issue. When Anunoby entered the league he was coming off a sophomore season at Indiana where he shot 31% from behind the arc and Pascal Siakam shot 3-for-17 from three-point range for his entire college career.

While Barnes is far from a perfect prospect, the Raptors have the developmental system in place to help him sort out his offensive woes. While Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green, and Evan Mobley are certainly more logical picks, it shouldn't be too shocking if Toronto goes with one of the draft's biggest risers later this month.

Further Reading

Raptors won't let Kyle Lowry's future impact draft decisions

4th pick throwing curveballs for Raptors' draft preparation

Adam Silver acknowledges Raptors' 'burden' last year, 'hopeful' team will play in Toronto