Celtics Could Trade for Point Forward with ‘Defensive Prowess’ in NBA Draft

Scottie Barnes

Getty Scottie Barnes of Florida State dribbles the ball past a defender

With the hiring of Ime Udoka as the Boston Celtics’ head coach now being official, the franchise can shift its focus more so to the upcoming NBA draft. The Celtics, however, don’t have much of a stake in this year’s draft — for the time being anyway.

At the moment, Boston owns only the No. 45 pick. But it’s possible the Celtics could be looking to make a deal that not only gets them a first-round pick but a lottery pick.

Chris Grenham of Forbes recently reported that NBA draft prospect Scottie Barnes interviewed with the Celtics. Several mock drafts have Barnes projected to be selected as early as No. 6 — including Bleacher Report, Hoops Hype and The Ringer. So Boston would need to come up with a trade in order to have a chance at the incoming rookie.

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Barnes’ Background

Barnes is a 19-year-old forward who comes to the NBA draft following one season at Florida State. In his lone collegiate season, the freshman was named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year for the 2020-21 season.

During the draft combine, Barnes measured at 6-feet, 7-inches without shoes and 6-feet, 8-inches with shoes, per Bleacher Report.

At Florida State, he primarily came off the bench — as evidenced by his Sixth Man of the Year honors from the ACC — with seven starts in 24 total games. Barnes was not only the Seminoles’ best bench player but one of the team’s most valuable. He averaged 10.3 points per game, which ranked third on the team. But his more impressive averages are his 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Barnes’ Game

Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area said that Barnes is more of a point forward despite being listed as a combo forward. It’s not a surprise given the assist average and the fact he led Florida State in that category. His height could also give him an advantage against many other NBA players running the point.

Barnes greatest asset, according to Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington, is his playmaking:

Barnes’ best offensive skill is his passing and ball handling. He’s at his best in transition when he’s able to grab a rebound, bring the ball up the floor with pace and either find teammates for open threes/layups or drive it all the way to the cup himself. This coupled with his defensive prowess is where the Draymond Green comparisons really start to make some sense.

Barnes said that, during a virtual film session with ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, he and Green are the same type of player. The former Florida State forward explained they each “bring that love and passion to the game.”

On defense, Barnes has the potential to be a serious threat. At the draft combine, he impressed with his wingspan of almost 7-feet, 3-inches, according to NBA draft expert Chad Ford. His wingspan alone is enough to make him a bother on defense, particularly to perimeter players who are smaller than him.

He’s also an efficient scorer, having shot 50.3% from the field while at Florida State.

Given he’s young and has potential to grow, Barnes could fit well alongside an established wing duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Barnes’ Limitations

Although Barnes has shown his ability to be an efficient scorer, he still needs to work on his shooting.

NBADraft.net lists Barnes’ shooting ability as one of his weaknesses:

The biggest thing holding Barnes back from a higher selection is his inconsistent jump shooting…He is showing that he is more than capable of developing this shot, but inefficiency will hold him back until his perimeter game is a true threat

Barnes made just 11 of his 40 3-point field goal attempts at Florida State. So he is willing to be a 3-point shooter, but he is more of a liability from long range than an asset right now. The same can be said of his free throw shooting — though to a lesser extent. Barnes averaged just 2.8 free throws per game with a 62.1% free throw shooting percentage.

READ NEXT: Celtics Interview Likely Lottery Picks at Draft Combine: Report

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