Magic Get Close Look at Florida State’s Scottie Barnes During Pre-Draft Workout

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - Scottie Barnes, a 6-foot-9, 227-pound hybrid player, worked out for the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Saturday. Most mock drafts, including those crafted by ESPN, CBSSports, The Ringer, Bleacher Report and DraftExpress, have him getting selected somewhere in the top eight in the 2021 NBA Draft.

A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Barnes appeared in 24 games during his one season at Florida State and averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks. He came off the bench most of the year, a role he flourished in. It wasn’t the first time FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton decided to bring a five-star recruit off the bench. A year ago, the Seminoles made Patrick Williams a reserve. That didn’t have a negative impact on his draft stock at all, as he was ultimately chosen fourth overall in the 2020 draft by the Chicago Bulls.

One of the more versatile players in this draft class, Barnes has the potential to transform into an elite two-way player. His vision and instincts at his size are unique, and he’s an exceptionally good defender who can guard positions one through four, maybe even fives as well when opponents go small.

“Some qualities and characteristics I bring to the table are having that energy, having a lot of joy, bringing my defensive instincts, being able to playmake, having that IQ on the floor, seeing different things, coming off pick-and-rolls and being able to bring defensive pressure,” he said of his strengths and what he will bring to an NBA team.

A question going forward is whether playing point guard full time at the next level is something he can manage doing. Obviously, the team that selects him will determine how they want to utilize his skills. But, based on what he showed at FSU, he has the tools to thrive as a team’s primary floor general.

Some have compared the soon-to-be 20-year-old to Draymond Green, although Barnes is certainly longer and more athletic than the Golden State Warriors forward. Others believe Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons is a more appropriate comparison despite being a tad shorter and a little less explosive in transition.

Barnes finished up his high school career at Montverde Academy, where he played alongside fellow projected 2021 lottery picks Cade Cunningham and Moses Moody and was coached by the legendary Kevin Boyle. Joel Embiid, Simmons, D’Angelo Russell and R.J. Barrett are a few current NBA players who went to Montverde.

In college, he earned several accolades, including being named the ACC Freshman of the Year and the ACC Sixth Man of the Year. He also made third-team All-ACC, joining FSU teammate RaiQuan Gray on that squad. M.J. Walker, the team’s leading scorer, made the conference’s second team.

Perimeter shooting, a weakness of his in college, is something he has been heavily working on since the college season ended. He’s confident with the amount of time he’s spending on it that he will become a reliable outside shooter. Also important for him, especially if he’s going to primarily play point guard in the NBA, is protecting the ball on drives and adding more creativity to his shot selection.

“I see myself as a point guard. I see myself (playing) any position that they want to put me at. I can play it all,” he said. “Throughout the game, I can play different positions. Whatever is needed. Throughout the game, if I need to come down and playmake at the four spot, top of the key, elbow. I feel like I can playmake through there. I can play point guard (and) come off pick-and-roll situations, find people, attack the basket. Coming into the open floor in transition, being able to score. Things like that.”

The Magic have the No. 5 and No. 8 overall picks in this year’s draft, which will take place on July 29. They also have the 33rd pick in the second round. Orlando currently has two former FSU players on the roster in Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Bacon.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by Josh Cohen are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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