The Washington Wizards are picking in the middle of the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Whether they trade up, down or stay firm at No. 15, here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who the Wizards could consider selecting.
2021 NBA Draft Prospect Preview: Scottie Barnes
School/team: Florida State
2020/21 stats: 24 G, 10.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 50.3 FG% (4.1/8.1), 27.5 3PT% (0.5/1.7), 62.1 FT%
Player comparison: Draymond Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 8th, Sports Illustrated 6th, Ringer 11th, NBADraft.net 6th, Bleacher Report 11th
5 things to know:
- Barnes is already a good, versatile defender and should be able to contribute at that end of the floor right away. He has great size and length at 6-9 with a 7-2 wingspan, and he certainly knows how to use it. Barnes' combination of natural instincts and elite physical tools should give him a high floor as a defender with the potential to become a perennial All-Defense type of player.
- Barnes' best offensive skill is his passing and ball handling. He's at his best in transition when he's able to grab a rebound, bring the ball up the floor with pace and either find teammates for open threes/layups or drive it all the way to the cup himself. This coupled with his defensive prowess is where the Draymond Green comparisons really start to make some sense.
- On Day 1 in the NBA, Barnes is probably best suited to play power forward, but his positional versatility should allow him to play anywhere in the frontcourt. Florida State had him guard pretty much every position on the court, so he should be plenty familiar with playing a bunch of different roles. However, if he can handle the physicality of playing center, that would probably become his best position.
- Barnes is limited as a shot creator in half-court settings. He doesn't have the twitch or handle to get by defenders one-on-one, so it's hard to see him as anything other than a screener at the next level right now. Using a top-10 pick on a guy who can only roll to the rim or make plays out of the short-roll can be risky, so he'll need to improve as a spot-up shooter to add more value on offense.
- The jump shot is a bit concerning for Barnes, especially behind the 3-point line. He shot 27% on limited volume at Florida State and he only hit 62% of his free throws. Usually, if a guy struggles from three in college but shoots it well at the line, you can expect some improvement at the next level. Barnes did neither, and while his shot doesn't look broken, his mechanics definitely need some fine-tuning.
Fit with Wizards:
Barnes probably won't be on the board when the Wizards are picking at No. 15 unless he falls on draft night or the Wizards make a move up to get him. However, if Washington was able to acquire Barnes it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Barnes projects to be a high-level defender on the wings with the potential to guard 1-through-5. One of the Wizards' biggest weaknesses this past season was not having enough good wing defenders, so Barnes would address that concern from Day 1.
If he can develop his 3-point stroke and provide some secondary playmaking in transition and out of the high post, even better. There are more seamless fits for the Wizards in this draft than Barnes, but if they have a chance to draft a player with his versatility and defensive acumen, they shouldn't pass on him.