Scottie Barnes NBA Scouting Report

Scottie Barnes is a 6’9″ playmaker that competes with a high level of passion and energy on both sides of the floor. His swiss army knife ability at his size should lead him into a seamless path towards becoming an impactful role player for a very long time in the NBA.

Scottie Barnes: F, 6’9″, 7’2″ WS, 227 lbs., Florida St., Freshman (19 years old)


Offensive role: Wing Initiator

Defensive role: Versatile, Multi-position defender

NBA projected role: Star Role Player

Swing factor: The Jumper

ESPN 2021 Big Board: 9th

Additional Statistics (via Barttorvik.com)

 


Offensive Strengths 

The first thing (offensively) that jumps out to me with Barnes would be his use of long, elusive strides in both the half-court and transition to get to the rim with ease. He creates space and covers tons of ground in a flurry with his euro-steps or side-steps. If he has a full head of steam in transition, then forget it. The defense stands no chance. 

This was a strong, decisive move in a half-court set against Michigan in the Sweet 16. Beats his man off-the-dribble, then explodes for the poster over the 7 foot Hunter Dickinson.

What better way to showcase those long strides, sound body control, and soft-touch than in the closing moments to hit a game-winner?

He is a very fun dunker when he has a running start like this, he’ll throw it down and let you know about it.

Passing

His passing ability is special. Whether it’s in the half-court or in transition, he finds creative ways to get his teammates involved. 

I love his manipulation here, baiting the defense to commit over the screen, all while in the back of his mind he already sees the open man in the corner. This type of anticipation and processing as a decision-maker is an excellent tool to have in your bag. 

There are many times where his ability to break down the defense leads to a hockey assist. These are the plays that draw multiple defenders and lead to defenses scrambling, which in turn leads to an open shot. There are many instances where Barnes makes plays that don’t show up on the box score, and here’s one of them.

Shooting?

Here is a glimpse of that shooting ability from Barnes. While it’s not a perfect-looking stroke, he does a nice job with his lower-body mechanics and follow through here. When he gets his base squared up I’ve noticed much better results than off movement or when he’s rushed. 


Offensive Weaknesses

There is one pretty obvious, glaring deficiency for Barnes… it is and always has been his jumper. In the modern NBA, it’s difficult to be a highly impactful player offensively without the ability to hit threes. There are exceptions to this of course, but the pathway for players to accomplish being a legitimate offensive threat without the shooting threat is a steep uphill battle to climb, especially for non-centers.

Barnes’ three-point rate was just 20.5%, which isn’t all that encouraging, but the raw percentages could’ve been worse from the charity stripe and three-point line. As talked about above, he is a good finisher around the rim which could be seen as a slight indicator that he improve the jumper with his soft touch and craft in that 5-10 feet away from the rim range. 

Here you see him miss short on a three. Anytime there’s movement (pre-catch) or any sort of hesitation before shooting, he struggles to generate enough lift on his jumper.

He shouldn’t be relied on to be a consistent scorer for any team, as he figures to be more of a complimentary piece on offense that enhances the team. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does take away some star equity potential from his draft profile.

There are times where he simply tries to do too much without a purpose when bringing the ball up the floor. Here’s a prime example of the overdribbling that leads him into no mans’ land and the eventual turnover. 


Defensive Strengths 

The defensive versatility is the main intrigue with Barnes for me, even more so than his playmaking ability at 6’9″ which is also attention-grabbing. In college, he guarded every position and even picked up full-court at times to harass lead ball handlers.

His on-ball defense is a rowdy, in-your-face type of style that is menacing for opponents to face. The primary intention of Scottie Barnes is to make you uncomfortable at all times, and he does a tremendous job of using every inch of that 7’2″ wingspan of his to do so. He might be able to play some small-ball centers occasionally as well if the proper matchups present themselves. 

The ability to harness his size and length to stay in front of opponents is a major strength and something that should help him seamlessly translate to the next level on this side of the floor.

Off-ball defense

The anticipation here while sealing his man to intercept this pass to another player is impressive. He is an instinctual defender that covers a ton of ground by anticipating passes and leveraging his length to make some impressive plays off the ball. 


Defensive Weaknesses

In order to keep that ability to guard positions 1 through 5, Scottie will need to work on improving his lateral movement speed to keep up with the elite of the elite guards in the NBA. This isn’t a major concern for me, because I believe he’ll do fine on switches against NBA 1’s, but he probably isn’t ready to guard them full-time at this point. 

He also may need to add strength in order to battle some of the bruising centers down-low, so going from college where he can guard every single position to more of a 2-4 role to start is what should be expected. This is far from a knock, as it’s unheard of for a rookie to come in and guard 1-5 immediately, so let’s give it time.

This entire section feels like nitpicking, so I’ll keep it short as I don’t have any significant qualms with his defense successfully translating to the NBA.


Potential NBA Team Fits

At the end of the day, 6’9″ wing initiators with his level of athleticism and motor do not grow on trees. He should be a lock for a lottery pick and could get looks as high as number 6 overall depending on who’s making the selection. 

NBA teams I’d love to see him on: 

  • Golden State Warriors (Draymond understudy)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Let him and Poku wreak havoc)
  • Sacramento Kings (Playing off Fox & Hali)
  • Toronto Raptors (They are good at developing players in his mold)

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