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Physical Forward with Point Guard Skills Looks to Makes His Mark
Maybe the mark of a deep Draft is when you covet every player you cover, one after another. All these guys would look good wearing wine and gold. Or maybe that happens every year.
Last spring’s NCAA Tournament gave many of these youngsters the opportunities that kids from Isaac Okoro’s Draft didn’t get. And if you were able to watch last year’s college postseason, the subject of today’s Prospect Profile – Florida State’s Scottie Barnes – probably stood out to you.
Although he didn’t go nuts in the Big Dance, Barnes’ performance in the ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech showed scouts why his name should (and likely will) be one of the first ten Adam Silver announces on July 29.
In that contest, Barnes led both teams with 21 points, going 8-of-10 from the floor, drilling both three pointers and all three free throws he attempted, adding four boards and three assists – all while coming off the bench.
Leonard Hamilton’s squad still reached the Tourney as an at-large entry and had a nice little run – reaching the Sweet 16 after knocking off UNC-Greensboro and Colorado before finally falling to Michigan.
In the Tournament, Barnes – the ACC’s Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year – focused on the defensive side of the ball, which could be his calling card at the next level. In FSU’s two wins, he totaled just 10 points – adding three steals in the opener against the Spartans, four boards against the Buffaloes. The upside is he was a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor and perfect in two free throw attempts.
Like the rest of his teammates, Barnes struggled against Michigan in their season finale. But he left enough of an impression – in the regular and postseason – that he all but guaranteed himself as a lock in this year’s Lottery.
For starters – at 6-9, 225 with a 7-3 wingspan and 9-0 standing reach, and moving with complete fluidity– Barnes passes the eye test. In Seminoles’ games last season, he looked like the best player on the floor.
He’s got some holes in his game, including the need to improve his shot from long-range – (where have you heard that before?) – but Barnes will make some team happy on both ends of the floor when he finally puts that lid on three weeks from Thursday.
STRENGTHS Barnes will come into the Association with an NBA-ready body and still has the frame to add more muscle. It might take him a while to learn the ropes, but physically, he won’t get bullied.
On the offensive end, the West Palm Beach native has been called a “point guard in a power forward’s body” – having the brains to initiate the offense, which he did much of in his freshman season at FSU, and the brawn to dominate around the rim or work himself free for a shot.
Barnes is an outstanding decision-maker with excellent handle for his size and the vision to see over defenders. In transition, he’s even more dangerous – with all the aforementioned passing skills and the strength and speed to finish on his own. It’s not clear how much offense he’ll be initiating at the pro level, but a player with point guard skills who can guard all three frontcourt positions is something every team would love.
As good as Barnes can eventually become on the offensive end, he’s already close to a finished product defensively. He can guard 1-through-5, is a tenacious one-on-one defender and off the ball and is a physical rebounder.
Barnes has an excellent motor and an obviously high basketball IQ; he plays the game the right way.
WEAKNESSES Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: At this stage in his game, Scottie Barnes needs to work on his three-point shooting.
In his single season in Tallahassee, Barnes attempted 40 triples and connected on just 11 attempts. And it was obviously that his shooting confidence on the deep ball faded as the season progressed – attempting 27 of those threes in the first 11 games, just 13 over his last 13.
Barnes will also need some work at the stripe, where he shot just over 62 percent – although he improved his numbers as last season progressed.
HOW HE'D FIT As noted earlier, of course a versatile two-way threat like Scottie Barnes would look good in wine and gold. So would Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs. But we only get one.
Isaac Okoro had a rock-solid rookie season – coming in as a defensive-minded natural athlete whose offense had to catch up. Barnes has more size and will likely be used at both the 3 and 4 at the next level. Could that alongside Okoro in the frontcourt?
With the No. 3 overall selection this year, the Cavaliers can be fairly picky. Barnes has an excellent skillset and a big upside, but can the 19-year-old who’s still a work in progress crack that top tier?