The Toronto Raptors sent the first wave of shock in the 2021 NBA draft by passing on Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs and instead selecting Florida State standout Scottie Barnes with the 4th overall pick. Most mock drafts projected Suggs to go to Toronto and reports hours prior to the draft indicated the Raps gearing towards selecting the 6-foot-4 guard. However, several reports out of Toronto’s camp revealed just how much enamored they were Barnes during his workout. Ultimately, the Raptors made the stunner to take Barnes over Suggs. And I believe Toronto made a huge mistake.
It’s easy to why the Raptors liked Barnes as a prospect. At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, he can impact the game with his defense. He is also a capable ballhandler and showed unique playmaking skills from the forward spot. That’s why many compare him to Draymond Green. However, like Green, he is pretty limited in terms of creating his own shot and his 3-point shooting is a major work in progress.
Meanwhile, Suggs is a dynamic 6-foot-4 guard who showed two-way potential in his lone season with Gonzaga. The former Bulldog seemed to be a match made in heaven for Toronto, as he could have been the heir apparent to Kyle Lowry, who could potentially bolt in free agency. The fit is definitely there and he has enough size to make up for Fred VanVleet’s lack in height. Suggs does have his flaws, particularly with his shooting as seen with his 33.7 percent 3-point shooting clip in college.
But there’s just something about the way Suggs carries himself that suggests he’ll be an absolute stud in the NBA. He did put the teams selecting at the top of the draft on notice prior to Thursday night about passing on him.