2021 NBA Draft: Pistons should consider Scottie Barnes starting at #3

Florida State Seminoles guard Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Florida State Seminoles guard Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 5
Detroit Pistons
Scottie Barnes #4 of the Florida State Seminoles (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons: NBA Draft prospect, Scottie Barnes

I always like to start with the film so let’s take a look at what is there. The IDEA of a 5 position defender is talked about a lot, but honestly very few exist. In the NBA it really boils down to Ben Simmons and Bam Adebayo…and LeBron and Giannis when necessary but they don’t always do it due to their responsibilities on offense (and Draymond was definitely here too until this past season where his lack of quickness is starting to limit him).

And by 5 position defender I mean guys big and strong enough to guard 4s and 5s, but also just as quick and agile to guard guards and wings. And not just some bigs or some guards. I mean you can check Embiid and also keep up with Russ.

The term unicorn is used for the guys that stand 7 feet or taller that can shoot 3s because that is supposed to be a mythical combination. Well I see being a 5 position defender just as mythical so I came up with a term for this rare defensive skill using another mythical beast: Dragon

Related Story. Top 10 rookies in Pistons' franchise history. light

Scottie Barnes is a dragon. Cue up his game tape and you will see Coach Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State coaching staff deployed Barnes as the primary man-to-man defender on the ball handler in full-court press. If you don’t know what this means, Barnes was the guy covering the opposition’s point guard from the very first second they got the ball.

You had a 6-foot-9 227 pound Dragon in your face smothering you across the entire court. This is incredibly disruptive to an offense and the kind of mismatches NBA teams look for come playoff time…like players 7 feet or taller that can shoot 3s! Barnes’ best example of this may be against Indiana where he ran the full court press as well as hit the game winning shot.

And being 6-foot-9and 227 he never got out muscled or engulfed by superior length from any of the big men he and Florida State played this past season. If you watch Florida State’s two games against Georgia Tech this year you can see Barnes have some possessions matched up against 6-foot-9 233 pound ACC player of the year Moses Wright to get a better idea.

When watching these games too, it is important to remember Barnes is a freshman and Wright is a senior. Wright definitely took it to them the first game, but Barnes and the Florida State defense clamped down in that second game and made Wright shoot 38.5% from the floor.

Barnes also is an impressive finisher at the rim. You will see many evaluations on him downgrade him considerably because he is not a good shooter from distance right now, so I want to push back on that to show an area that Barnes excels at that is just as important as shooting 3s.

In today’s analytics driven NBA most teams want to excel at two shot types, three-pointers and shots at the rim. While it is true that Barnes shot 27.5% from distance, he also drained 70.6% of his shots directly at the hoop.

The only other potential draftees that finished better than Barnes were Charles Bassey at 77.5%(!!!), Evan Mobley at 76.3%(!!!), Franz Wagner at 70.8%, and one other guy I will write about in greater detail in a later post. So Barnes is in rare company here at getting to the rim at finishing.

This also accounted for 45.0% of his offense so this is not a case where he did not do it often. This was his main type of shot and what I would argue should be what teams should want him to do first and foremost.

Barnes also is the best playmaker in this draft class. If we look back at his stat line you will see an assist percentage of 31.6% For those that may not know what this means, let me break it down like this. 25% or greater is what you want from your starting point guard. 30% or greater is very rare and only expected from guys like Chris Paul and Lebron.

To put this in context, Ben Simmons posted a 27.4% assist percentage in his one season at LSU.

Barnes is posting a 31.6% at 6-foot-9and 227. This combination of size and passing ability makes him very hard to contain. He can pass out of just about any situation: pick-and-roll ball handler, running in transition, backing guys down in the post, making the second past to find the open shooter, and even on in-bounds plays.

And just to reiterate, this is the kind of skill NBA teams what to use as a mismatch come playoff time.