The Biggest Surprise of the Draft

Everyone anticipated the Toronto Raptors would select Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs at No. 4 — but they went with Scottie Barnes.

The FSU product is an intriguing fit in Toronto: The 6’7” guard/forward has the capability to bring up the ball or play off the ball, though his 27.5% three-point shooting clip needs to improve if he wants to partner Fred VanVleet.

His biggest upside is defense. He has a 7’3” wingspan — crucial for defending smaller guards and seeing over defenders in the pick-and-roll.

With veteran guard Kyle Lowry likely headed elsewhere, Toronto has a strong infrastructure for the future. VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., and Pascal Siakam all can defend and hit the three-ball.

“I fit in perfect,” Barnes said on Thursday. “With what their whole gameplan is, they start off with a defensive mindset, a defensive mentality… I feel like I fit right in.” 

FSU coach Leonard Hamilton continues to breed a collection of lanky guards/forwards with a defense-first mentality. 

Terrance Mann is a 6’7” guard who contributed on both ends for the Clippers, especially in the playoffs. Patrick Williams is a 6’8” guard who impressed this past season in Chicago. And Malik Beasley averaged roughly 20 points for the Timberwolves.

Call it a rebuild in Toronto (or Tampa?) if you will, but they already have several young defensive-minded pieces in place for Nick Nurse to mentor.