Scottie Barnes has been a post-NBA Draft Combine darling, and continues to get connected with the Oklahoma City Thunder in mock drafts.
His size, athleticism, passing and defensive prowess fits the mold Sam Presti swore by during the Russell Westbrook era in OKC. Barnes has been able to get some firsthand experience with Oklahoma City via meetings and a workout, and he came away impressed with his experience.
“I would say that it went pretty well,” Barnes said during his pre-draft Zoom press conference about his meeting with the Thunder. “Getting to know the people in their program, the staff, they seemed like a really good group of people. A lot of people that just want to develop their players, try to really get to know them. Be close with them.
“I will say they were a bunch of people that just seemed loyal. Really just working to try to get their program at the top, at their peak. I would say those are really good people.”
With the Thunder looming at the sixth spot, many have pointed to Barnes’ offense as why he might fall out of the top five into Oklahoma City’s lap. In his one year at Florida State, Barnes averaged 11.0 points per game, but only shot 29.7 percent from 3-point range and posted a dismal 60.9 percent mark from the free throw line.
Despite the knocks, Barnes said he still feels great about what he brings to the offensive end of the floor.
“I’m really better at offense. People really oversee that because of different things that I did this year,” he said. “Probably didn’t shoot the ball really as well as I could, but I would just say I’m just letting things come to me naturally.
“My offensive game, I would say, it's good. They’ll see.”
Recommended for You
What Barnes may lack in offensive punch, he makes up for on the other end of the floor.
The Thunder already have one lockdown defender in Lu Dort, and Barnes said they would form a formidable duo on the defensive end.
“As you can see watching Lu Dort play, he’s an amazing defensive player. Gets really low on defense, has that intensity,” Barnes said. “He just really knows how to guard the ball. You just see the intangibles is off the charts as well with him being so physical, so quick.
“You just see how good he is. Me being able to play with him, it would be great for that organization and just having two players that can really guard, being able to guard multiple different guys on the floor.”
Barnes noted how much better him and Dort could be together, as they would be able to bring different defensive looks to the established stars across the league.
However, Barnes was unable to actually meet Dort when he visited with Oklahoma City.
Perhaps if the Thunder land him at No. 6 on Thursday, he’ll have plenty of time to catch up with the Canadian.