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 /
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Detroit Pistons
Scottie Barnes #4 of the Florida State Seminoles (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons draft picks: Scottie Barnes’ weaknesses

BUT the reason many teams emphasize getting to the rim is that usually players can draw more fouls from this shot type and get easier points that way. So, Barnes might be shooting himself in the foot there since he only shot 62.1% from the line this year.

Free throw percentage can be a tricky thing to really get down at times, though. Sometimes a guy just hits a slump in a year. Some guys are still developing. And there is also what I like to call the Bruce Bowen where a guy is a TERRIBLE free throw shooter but a solid 3-point sniper. Well for Barnes I think he falls in the still developing category.

Diving into his game logs we can see that for the first 12 games he shot 51.4%. Yet, looking at the final 12 games he improved that percentage to 75.9%. So it seems like he had to shoot himself into form as the season wore on and it is always a positive indicator when you see numbers like this improve as the season progresses and a players gets more comfortable doing a certain skill on the court.

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Also there are small indicators with his 3 point shot as well in this regard as he started the first 8 games shooting 26.3% and the next 13 games before the NCAA tournament he shot 33.3%. He only took 3 attempts from distance in the 3 NCAA tournament games he played in—and they were all in one game—but missed all 3 which then brought down his percentage to 28.6% for his final 16 games.

I am definitely NOT going to say he will be a great shooter or that his lack of shooting shouldn’t be cause for concern, but I do buy into that 33.3% he shot in the middle of the year for two reasons. Number one being his FT% improving throughout the year as he got more comfortable with that. And number two, he did not hesitate to take 3s or turn them down the way Ben Simmons or Isaac Okoro did in their college days.

And with 3s it is important that you know WHEN to take them. Of course hitting them at a respectable percentage is even more important to keep the floor spaced and defenses from sagging off you and sending extra help to your teammates. But if teams know you are not even going to attempt 3s then that makes you much easier to guard and Barnes definitely does not fall into that category.

Now, I don’t want to just handwave his lack of shooting because it is bad. I like to keep it real here ladies and gentlemen. His form is pretty stiff now and it’s clear he has a lot of work to do there. If you NEED him to be a shooter then move along because even if he does become one then it is going to take time.

But again, my argument with him is that he does so many other things well that he should not be downgraded as a result of his poor shooting thus far.

I would argue, though, Barnes’ biggest knock should be that his position is uncertain. While I have been arguing for his rare combination of size and skills, it also makes it tough for many an evaluator to know what to do with him. He played point guard at Florida State, but almost no one believes he should be a point guard in the NBA.

His size makes many want to slot him in as a power forward. While this is definitely an attractive option to take advantage of his skills as a Dragon on defense, what exactly his role on offense would be remains unclear. He definitely can handle the ball and be your secondary creator. You could also develop him as like a combo small/power forward and develop his passing and ball handling, but again I think the team that drafts him would PROBABLY want him surrounded by shooters.

Unfortunately, he also did not rebound the ball particularly well for someone his size as his rebound percentage was 7.4% on offense and 11.1% on defense. Those are criminally bad for a front court player and will cause some to say no way Jose to putting him at the 4. He will have to answer whether this is something he wants to do more and why he didn’t post better numbers while at FSU.