- This is the first installment of a series breaking down the potential selections for both the Kings and Warriors in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The 2021 NBA Draft is just over a month away and it’s time to focus on some of the names that will surface when both the Warriors and Kings select in the lottery.
It’s unusual to have both Northern California teams bunched so closely together, but this is a wide-open draft in the six to 15 range, so the crossover should be interesting to break down.
This year's draft is tremendous at the top, but also deep. There is plenty of talent that can help both of these teams and the Warriors picks at No. 7 and No. 14, as well as the Kings’ pick at No. 9 have solid value if either team decides to make a trade.
First on the list is Florida State freshman Scottie Barnes, who is scheduled to go anywhere from No. 5 to No. 9 when the draft is held on July 29.
Stats: 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 50.3% FG, 27.5% 3-point FG
Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-8 Weight: 225 Wingspan: 7-foot-2.75
Barnes posted a tremendous near 7-foot-3 wingspan at the combine and measured in at a strong 6-foot-8 with shoes on. He projects as a combo forward, but likely will settle in as a power forward as he matures in the league.
In his lone season at Florida State, he posted 20 or more points just once, a 21-point outburst against Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament. He capped out at nine rebounds in a loss to Notre Dame and he dished out eight assists in a win over Miami in February.
Like Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams in last year's draft, Barnes’ offensive numbers are difficult to read due to Leonard Hamilton’s system at Florida State. What separates Barnes from the other two is his ability to act as a primary ball handler and offensive hub.
Barnes can lead the break, handle the ball in the half court and projects as an elite distributor at the NBA level. He has good court vision and excellent passing skills, posting an assist percentage of 31.6 with a usage rate of just 23.7. He has potential to play a point-four, but he has the versatility to hold his own at multiple positions.
While his scoring needs refinement, Barnes is aggressive in the paint and finishes well above the rim. He posted a 36-inch standing vertical at the combine and a 39.5 inch max vert. He’s a powerful athlete who will finish through contact and has potential to develop into a solid scoring option down the road.
Where Barnes will make an immediate impact for a team is on the defensive end. He projects as both a very good on-ball and team defender. His length is crazy, but he also finished second at the combine in the shuttle run and seventh in the lane agility drill.
Barnes can defend all five positions and he plays with an energy and fire that usually translates well to the NBA. He might get a little too fired up at times, but he is a passionate player who has potential to become a defensive catalyst for his team.
Barnes has a tremendous basketball IQ and feel for the game, but he is raw as a scorer. He shot just 27.5 percent from 3-point range on just 40 attempts.
The word around the combine was that Barnes showed a more refined shooting stroke and has potential for improvement, but early in his career teams will sag off of him and make him prove it.
He shot just 62.1 percent from the free throw line and despite his physical style and athleticism, he attempted only 2.8 free throws per game. At the next level, he’ll need to improve his stroke and use his strength to get to the line more often.
Despite his size and length, Barnes posted just four rebounds per game as a freshman. Some of that is due to him playing a variety of positions, but for a player with his size, length and athleticism, his rebounding rates are not good. He’ll need to improve if he hopes to play major minutes early in his career.
Fit with Warriors
Golden State is in a difficult spot. Their championship window still is open, but just by a crack. If they are going to extend their current run, they might use this pick to acquire veteran players who are ready to jump in and play a major role now.
Barnes isn’t far away and he’ll be a force on the defensive end early in his career. But he lacks the shooting ability the Warriors usually covet and he plays a similar style to what Draymond Green already brings.
On the plus side, Barnes’ energy and athleticism would be a welcome site. His ability to pass the ball and play in the two-man game with Steph Curry would also be intriguing.
After his showing at the combine, it’s very possible that Barnes won’t make it to No. 7 where the Warriors are selecting. This is a top-end talent with major versatility on both ends of the court. If he drops to seven and the Warriors still are on the board, they almost have to make Barnes the pick.
Fit with Kings
Barnes’ inability to space the floor is a concern for the Kings, especially if they retain Richaun Holmes in free agency. In the modern NBA, you need as many shooters as possible, especially with De’Aaron Fox manning the point.
Where Barnes would work well in Sacramento is on the defensive end, where he would instantly improve a near historically bad group last season. Barnes’ ability to switch out onto almost any player, including guards on the perimeter, would instantly provide an element the Kings didn’t have last season.
While his limited shooting ability would hurt the spacing on the floor, his passing ability could create opportunities for others. You can’t have enough distributors, especially from the forward positions.
Lastly, Sacramento could also use a player with a personality like Barnes. He is physical, but also a no-nonsense player who isn’t afraid to mix it up. The Kings ran into issues last season where the opposition got physical and they didn’t have the proper response.
Draymond Green, Ben Simmons