Cavs 2021 NBA Draft: Scottie Barnes could be CLE X-factor

Florida State Seminoles playmaker Scottie Barnes celebrates in-game. (Photo by: Robert Goddin-SA TODAY Sports)
Florida State Seminoles playmaker Scottie Barnes celebrates in-game. (Photo by: Robert Goddin-SA TODAY Sports) /
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Scottie Barnes, Cleveland Cavaliers
Florida State Seminoles guard Scottie Barnes goes for a loose ball. (Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Cavs draft: Barnes is a multi-faceted defender

Barnes did often defend opposing primary playmakers on-ball in his lone collegiate season at Florida State, and for the Cavs, I could see him defend opponents’ top wings or forwards for considerable stretches. That could be with Isaac Okoro getting a breather, for one, involving wings, or at times with Okoro defending opponents’ primary playmakers.

Barnes, as KJG’s John Suchan demonstrated, is capable of guarding a number of different positions though, and while I’m not going to say he could 1-5, 1-4, I could see it with the FSU product. He does a nice job of keeping opponents out of the paint and his quickness can really bother pull-up threats.

Additionally, Barnes’ ball pressure was a key reason why he had 1.5 steals per outing for the Seminoles last season, and to me, hounding of ball handlers could lead to a number of deflections and steals.

That could lead to Cleveland getting a number of transition opportunities when he’s in there, similarly to Nance, who I could foresee in lineups with Barnes on the Cavs next season, too, if they selected Scottie in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Plus, Barnes’ feel off-ball and length led to him getting his share of hustle blocks as a helper, which could aid in providing some rotational rim protection, at least to an extent.

A 2.1 percent block rate for the 19-year-old at FSU was a pretty robust one, especially for a player that was often defending on the perimeter on-ball, and played only 24.8 minutes per game. That was with how FSU has typically utilized a deep rotation, for context.

With Barnes, in a general sense, I could see Cleveland being disruptive in spurts/stretches on the defensive end, and that X-factor-type quality from him could provide plenty of energy.