Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Morning Coffee – Fri, Jul 30

Scottie Barnes is our guy - Wild draft...wild...

Scottie Barnes scouting report: What to expect from Raptors’ highest pick since 2006 – The Athletic

Well, there’s something to be said for having a type. I’d gotten the feeling that the Raptors saw the tiers in this draft a little differently than the perceived consensus, and that’s obvious with the selection of Barnes over Suggs here. Whether the Raptors could have still gotten Barnes while trading down is a difficult question to answer — Orlando could have called the bluff (or been similarly undecided between the two), or there was no optimism Barnes would be available if they traded down to No. 6 or 7. Even if we now assume the Raptors had a three-man top tier and then a second tier that included Suggs and Barnes, we don’t know where that second-tier cut off; it’s possible to trade down too far, get additional assets and be unenthused with your draft haul, and that’s not why the Raptors packed up a lost season early to improve their lottery odds.

Trade potential aside, this will raise some eyebrows for two reasons. The first is simply that most people who do such things rank Suggs as a better prospect than Barnes. The second is that Barnes is a player type telegraphed by this entire era of the Raptors’ front office. Long, toolsy forwards with excellent defensive projection, plus versatility from a positional and skill standpoint and strong reviews off the court tend to be Toronto types, even if it means making a big bet on developing a player’s shooting. Barnes fits that bill as a complete non-shooter who will largely be a play-finisher in transition and around the rim to start his career.

Barnes is more than just a super-switchy defender with centre length and an elite motor. He is one of the best transition players in this class, and that includes passing as well as scoring. With his speed and athleticism, as well as the increased ability to force opponent turnovers that should be presented by a Pascal Siakam-Anunoby-Barnes defensive hydra, the Raptors should swiftly be back to one of the league’s deadliest teams on the break. In the half court, Barnes has shown enough playmaking skill to be optimistic about some creative ways to leverage the group. This doesn’t project as a core with the greatest of spacing, but sometimes playmaking is a multiplier skill; the Raptors are now flush with players capable of attacking an advantage and turning it into a bigger one, either for themselves or someone else. Who creates those initial advantages remains a question, as Barnes is not that guy yet.

As I half-joked in the lead-up to the draft, why not build the entire plan out of huge, versatile defenders with ball skill that need a couple seasons to come along as shooters? — Murphy

David Johnson goes to the Toronto Raptors: Here’s what they’re getting – The Athletic

Johnson’s feel for the game, more than any other skill, is what NBA observers most appreciate. He makes direct, mostly intelligent drives to the hoop, often with hitting an open teammate in mind. The ability to read a defense and find guys in stride are the top qualities the Toronto Raptors are getting in Johnson after selecting him 47th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

“He has a really innate feel for seeing the defense, hitting a roll guy and seeing things a lot of guys his age don’t see,” Louisville assistant coach Mike Pegues says. “His freshman year, he came out of his shell at Duke (19 points, seven assists in a win), using his size and athleticism to lead the charge. He can really see over guys and make plays.”

Johnson, a 20-year-old guard, stands 6-foot-5, with a 6-10 wingspan. He could probably use time in the G League to work on his jumper, minimize turnovers and upgrade his defense. He averaged 12.6 points and 3.2 assists per game last season as a sophomore at Louisville. He was good in spurts for a team whose season was interrupted twice by COVID-19 stoppages. He shot 38.6 percent from 3-point range but struggled on other jump shots, which is why he made 41.1 percent from the field overall. He has good size for the lead guard position and decent size as a secondary playmaker who defends multiple roles.

Here’s our NBA Draft expert Sam Vecenie with more: “Johnson’s best role would be as a secondary ball-moving creator on offense next to a primary guard, particularly one that is bigger and can hit pull-up jumpers. Think of someone like Zach LaVine. Johnson defends and fights on one end and really fosters ball movement with terrific passing on the other. There are roles for him to really become an effective NBA player. But he’s going to have to keep working on his frame (he could stand to get into elite shape), and he’s going to have to keep improving the jumper. If he’s not even a threat as a pull-up option, he’s probably not going to stick at the NBA level as a two-guard. He’s not quite athletic enough to be a true one that is a primary guy even off the bench. But with how good he is on defense and that elite level passing? His feel for the game gives him a real chance if the skill level catches up.”

Scottie Barnes goes to the Toronto Raptors: Here’s what they’re getting – The Athletic

This is, by far, the thing that should most excite fans of the Raptors: Barnes’ default mode is one of genuine humility and unselfishness. Most college players are understandably obsessed with their minutes and opportunities; many far less talented players transfer every spring for far less reason. Barnes’s positive, collaborative attitude sets him apart among his peers, let alone among elite professional athletes. It will have undoubtedly played a part in his rise into top-five consideration leading up to the draft, and it will serve him well in the NBA, where, for perhaps the first time in his life, he won’t regularly be the best player on the floor. (OK, the second time: He did play high school basketball with Cade Cunningham.)

Then again, if he hits the outer limit of his potential, maybe he could be. Barnes’s year at Florida State was, in some ways, a learning experience. He had always thought he wanted to try out the point guard spot, always thought his ballhandling and vision made him interesting out top, but when you play with Cunningham in high school, you don’t get to play much point. Other schools low-key assumed he would play on the wing; FSU was willing to give him a real shot at the one. Barnes had to figure things out on the fly. He made mistakes, and sometimes looked sloppy, but the skill was always apparent, and he figured out FSU’s offense and how to read any combination of 10 teammates that might be on the floor with at any given time in something like record speed. “It was a tremendous challenge,” Leonard Hamilton said. It was, in the end, an experiment that worked for both team and player.

Of course, it’s all well and good being humble. Being a 6-8 wing with a handle and next-level passing vision spectacular tends to matter a bit more come draft evaluation time. Barnes’ willingness to lean into his distribution ability — he finished with a 31.7 percent assist rate — can occasionally mask some flaws. He is not a good perimeter shooter. He attempted just 40 3s, and made only 11, and defenses were happy to sink off him. Nor was Barnes much of a midrange player, attempting just 34.9 percent of his field goals from that area of the floor. He scored his points at the rim. Occasionally, he did so in spectacular fashion, and Barnes’ ability to get to the rim also resulted in some of his more memorable assists last season. But shooting tends to be a requirement of every position in the NBA, and Barnes isn’t there yet on this front.

Still, given the development in his game in just one season of point guard run — one season spent more or less platooning with a bunch of teammates in an uptempo, pressing, OK-now-come-back-off-the-floor-again system — it’s hard to imagine Barnes not getting there eventually. At bare minimum, he has the physical tools to be an elite defender at multiple positions and a playmaking hybrid point-forward, which is to say he should be a quality NBA starter for years if hits even 75 percent of his eventual ceiling. He’s too big and too gifted not to excel on some level, and almost certainly too humble and too selfless to not significantly improve. “The cake is still in the oven,” Hamilton said. “But, man, it’s rising fast.”

Raptors roll the dice on upside of Barnes with fourth pick –

Ujiri has been in hot pursuit of prospects like this since taking the gig atop Toronto’s front office. He was hired in May of 2013. One month later, he tried to acquire a lottery pick in the hopes of landing his target: an intriguing young forward who would turn into two-time MVP, reigning Finals MVP and NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo, selected 15th-overall by Milwaukee that year.

He and his front office have spent much of the past eight years chasing the next Antetokounmpo (or in the case of their 2021 free agency aspirations, prior to his extension with the Bucks, chasing the actual Antetokounmpo). It’s yielded hits (Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby) and misses (Bruno Caboclo), but Ujiri’s vision hasn’t wavered.

His view of the modern NBA – in lockstep with Webster, the rest of the front office, and head coach Nick Nurse – is position-less basketball predicated on speed, skill and maximum versatility, primarily on the defensive end. Enter Barnes.

“As we all see and as we all know, the position-less-ness of the NBA now, I don’t think you can have too many of these big, two-way wings,” Webster said following the draft, in which the Raptors also selected Toronto-born guard Dalano Banton, by way of Nebraska, and Louisville point guard David Johnson with the 46th and 47th picks. “So I think from a positional standpoint we don’t really see it as any overlap. We see it as, let’s have all five guys [on the court] look like him and OG and Pascal.”

It’s not hard to see what drew the Raptors to the talented forward. Barnes, who turns 20 on Saturday, has all the tools to be great. He has an NBA-ready body, complete with an enormous 7-foot-2 wingspan. He’s arguably the best defender in this draft class, already, and sees the floor uncommonly well for a player his age and his size. He played point guard in college and can guard or switch onto all five positions.

The knock on him, and the biggest reason why he wasn’t considered to be in this draft’s top tier, is his shooting. He only attempted 40 three-pointers as a freshman with the Seminoles, hitting just 11 of them, and went 62 per cent from the free throw line. But that didn’t deter the Raptors, who are confident in their player development system, and with good reason. Their philosophy is: you can teach shooting, but you can’t teach some of the intangibles that Barnes has.

Equally as important, he’s also got the confidence, ambition and mentality that he’ll need in order to make the requisite tweaks to his game and ultimately justify Toronto’s faith in him.

Raptors selecting Barnes an embodiment of the organization’s values – Sportsnet

The first thing he’ll have to figure out is how to shoot. It’s the only gap in his resume, but it’s a limiting factor to his long-term potential.

He’s fairly categorized as a non-shooter given he was just 11-of-40 from the three-point line and shot just 62-percent from the free-throw line and doesn’t have a lot of other options offensively as a scorer. He averaged 10.3 points a game for a Florida State team that advanced to the Sweet 16.

But the Raptors have seen OG Anunoby develop into a quality three-point shooter from humble beginnings while Norm Powell became one of the league’s most dangerous deep threats despite his shooting being deemed a weakness coming out of college. Pascal Siakam has shown flashes too after playing the post in college and in his first year as a pro.

“Let’s put it this way, his shot isn’t broken,” said Nurse. “People talk about his jump shot’s broken; it isn’t broken. I think there’s probably a few little mechanical things that we’ll probably look at, as we do with everybody. And then it’s going to be up to him. I think there will be some things we think we can look at, there won’t be a ton, there will be a few, and then it’ll be up to him to put in the work.”

The bright side is he led the Seminoles in assists with 4.1 a game and he was skilled enough in the open floor and crafty enough in the half-court that he was trusted with minutes at point guard.

“He’s a guy with his size can board and he’s going to turn around and start bringing it,” said Nurse, drawing comparisons to current Raptors Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. “I think he’s got some handles and I think he’s got some vision and he can pass. I would think that he would be able to do some of that off the bat.”

But it’s his defence that makes him stand out and should translate quickly. He’s 225 pounds and has a 7-foot-3 wingspan but leverages his size and strength with high basketball IQ that allowed him to guard multiple positions in college, something he’s confident he can continue at the NBA level.

NBA Draft 2021: Toronto Raptors select Scottie Barnes with the 4th overall pick – Raptors HQ

So then the risk: did the Raptors just get a player who can’t start for the current squad with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam locked in at the small and power forward position? Could it be that Barnes only tracks as another second or third-ranked player on a championship calibre team? (If that; some are worried he’s the next Stanley Johnson.) In all, the question remains: will Toronto regret missing on Suggs?

The Raptors go all-in on Scottie Barnes at No. 4 in the NBA draft: ‘I’m trying to achieve greatness’ | The Star

Regardless of what experts or fans or mock drafts or anyone else thinks, the team zeroed in on Florida State forward Scottie Barnes and made him the fourth pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft in Brooklyn.

It doesn’t matter who they didn’t take or why; it didn’t matter what deals they tried to make that they couldn’t. A team with an extremely solid record of drafting got the guy it wanted.

“I think he’s kind of a multi-faceted, multi-positional, two-way player,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We talk about that a lot. We want two-way guys, guys that are versatile, and he’s all of that and he’s young.

“Excited, man. Liked him, got to know him a little bit … it’s a great pick for us.”

Barnes, a six-foot-nine Florida native who will turn 20 years old on Sunday, is a versatile defender, on-court leader and willing learner who would seem a solid fit for Toronto’s culture.

“They start off with a defensive mindset, a defensive mentality,” said Barnes. “I feel like I belong in that program. So, I would just say I can fit right in doing different things to help other people. Other people can help me. I feel like I fit right in.”

And for a franchise that values character as much as talent, Barnes would seem to be a natural.

“First of all, maybe the best teammate, and that’s saying something in the draft,” respected ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said on a conference call this week.

Dalano Banton and David Johnson: Scouting reports on Raptors’ second-round picks – The Athletic

David Johnson, Louisville (sophomore), 6-foot-4.75, 203-pounds, 6-foot-10.5 wingspan, 20 years old
This was a bit of a slide for Johnson, who was ranked anywhere from No. 16 to 66 on the boards we surveyed and had some early-second round buzz in a few mock drafts. He’s a bit of a tough player to project forward, as his role at Louisville — playing alongside fellow 2021 draft class guard Carlik Jones — maybe wasn’t the best representation of what Johnson can be. At the same time, he’s a 20-year-old who only modestly improved as a sophomore. The Raptors are making a low-cost bet here that, not unlike Banton and Barnes, Johnson possessing some of the more inherent tools is more important than him lacking in some of the teachables (and, if we’re being honest, lacking in actual production).

Strengths: The idealized version of Johnson is a pretty big combo-guard who can add shooting and secondary attacking alongside a more natural initiator. That wingspan is a legitimate weapon, and he has a fairly natural nose for disruption that Toronto surely appreciates. That Johnson is a multi-position defender who can irritate at the point of attack and help create havoc in passing lanes or pinching in help on drives makes him a pretty natural system fit on or off the ball. There was also some small-sample 3-point shooting growth, especially in terms of his catch-and-shoot speed and fluidity. He hit 38.6 percent on modest 3-point volume this past year, and even if he’s not that good a shooter, it’s enough to open up closeout seams to attack, where Johnson can unleash some fun tools from floater range.

Weaknesses: Johnson didn’t really… do a lot at Louisville. Outside of rebounding, he doesn’t grade in even the 50th percentile in a single stat among guards who were drafted since 2011, per NBA Draft Comp. He was turnover prone, rarely got to the line, scored inefficiently and didn’t have the steal rate you’d hope for projecting his defence forward, though it’s worth noting he often guarded forwards rather than guards at Louisville, shifting his skill-role match some. He wasn’t a very productive passer, either, but he did show some good feel as a secondary creator alongside Jones, turning small advantages into bigger ones. Again, he’s just not going to create those advantages all that often, at least unless an absent pull-up weapon emerges.

Raptors fit: Another very long guard with elite transition potential, multi-position defensive versatility and a knack for turning defence into offence. That was a common theme across the picks, and while there’s certainly some strength-weakness overlap in the three picks, Johnson at least offers some early shooting progress. Stylistically, he would fit pretty well next to Malachi Flynn in the sort-of Delon Wright bench mob role, but I don’t think he’ll be second-unit ready without some real 905 time first.

Summary: Johnson came in at No. 42 on our composite board and 53 on my personal board. Sharife Cooper, B.J. Boston, Aaron Henry, Jericho Sims and a few others were still on my board ahead of Johnson, and I was at least a little surprised Johnson was a Raptors guy here versus in the undrafted market. Still, there are obvious reasons to think he might be able to put it together in an environment with NBA spacing and a pro-level development system. The feel and length win out over the production and finer skills here in the middle of the second.

Raptors shock NBA world, opt for Scottie Barnes, pass on Jalen Suggs | Toronto Sun

Barnes sounds like he’s ready for that challenge. “I just want to be great,” Barnes said. “I’m going to keep working, staying in the gym, I just want to leave that legacy that I’m that guy that I can really be,” he said.

On offence he excels in transition and is a great passer for his size.

And he doesn’t think people should be too worried about the rest of his game, as he also told reporters on the call.

“People (don’t) see that because of different things I did this year. Didn’t shoot the ball as well as I could,” he said. “My offensive game is good. They’ll see I would say.”

Nurse noted Barnes doesn’t have a “broken” jump shot, just some mechanical things he needs to get ironed out.

Barnes had said he had a good workout with the Raptors in Tampa. The primary focus of the workout was, you guessed it .. “a lot of shooting.”

Barnes said his strengths are “having long arms having big hands and the ability to jump high. Me being able to have energy on the court. Playmaking IQ on the court, having that vision. Makes me able to see different things, different reads that others can’t see.”

He added Thursday that his shooting has improved since his college season.

NBA Draft 2021: Raptors select Louisville’s David Johnson pick no. 47 – Raptors HQ

Johnson played two years with the Cardinals, averaging 12.6 / 5.8 / 3.2 on 38.6 shooting from deep in his sophomore season this year. Johnson was ranked 38th on Kevin O’Connor’s big board over at The Ringer. If he hits, which of course is an uncertain proposition whenever you’re talking about guys taken in the 40s, he profiles as a defensive-minded wing with a bit of offensive juice. Per O’Connor, he’s a “hard-nosed defensive guard with playmaking skills who could blossom at the next level if his jump shot improves.”

Even if second-rounders are a hit-or-miss proposition, the Raptors are primed to bring an exciting roster to Summer League, and their development pipeline is now amply re-stocked after a handful of late picks and undrafted free agents failed to pan out for a bunch of different reasons over the last couple years.

Also, in case you were not clear before, the selections of Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton and David Johnson prove that the Raptors front office is very horny for defense.

Raptors draft Canadian for first time with Dalano Banton pick – Yahoo!

Toronto used the 46th selection on Dalano Banton, a 6-foot-9 guard from Toronto who becomes the first Canadian player to be drafted by the Raptors. Banton redshirted after transferring from Western Kentucky to Nebraska, but he was eventually able to showcase his talents, averaging 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists per game.

The upside with Banton is that he is very long and can handle the ball — similar to Barnes in that regard — although he is still very much a work in progress offensively since his shooting and overall decision-making are below average.

The 47th pick was used on Louisville sophomore guard David Johnson. The 6-foot-5 guard is another player who fits the Raptors’ profile as being a multi-dimensional player with above-average size. Johnson bumped his three-point percentage to 39 percent last season and was one of the best guards in the ACC.

Raptors finally draft a Canadian, Toronto’s Dalanao Banton, at NBA Draft | Toronto Sun

The 21-year-old is a 6-foot-9 guard out of Nebraska has great size for his position and a background as a point guard, though that could change at the next level. He’s also known for his rebounding and passing, though is very thin and needs to work on his shooting and defence.

Banton thrived under Fred Hoiberg, the former NBA player, coach and executive after transferring to Nebraska.

He starred at the 2018 BioSteel All-Canadian Game and played high school basketball in New York.

The Raptors also had the 47th pick and opted for Louisville guard David Johnson. At 6-foot-5, Johnson is another big guard. The 20-year-old raised his three-point shooting from 21.7% as a freshman, to 38.6% and his free throw percentage from 60% to 70%. He had as many turnovers as assists though.

The Raptors are surely intrigued by Johnson’s nearly 6-foot-11 wingspan and his reputation as a very good defender.