The 2021 NBA Draft took place on Thursday, as 60 players had their names called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The first surprise draft pick of the night came early in the selection process, as the Toronto Raptors shocked everyone when they took Scottie Barnes at number four instead of Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs. Barnes was supposed to go fifth overall, and although it does not sound like a big difference with the Raptors taking him only one spot higher, it was a big surprise as almost everyone believed Toronto would take Suggs when the draft began.
Scottie Barnes was the first of three Florida State players to be taken in the NBA Draft on Thursday, with fellow teammates Balsa Koprivica, selected 57th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, and RaiQuan Gray, selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 59th overall selection also taken in the draft.
Scottie Barnes is a 6’9” guard who played 24 games as a freshman with the Seminoles. Barnes averaged 10.3 points per game while also contributing 4.1 assists per game. He was named 2021 ACC Freshman of the Year, ACC Sixth Man of the Year, and was named to the All-ACC Third Team. All three of these awards were chosen by ACC coaches and media. Some of Barnes’ strengths include his great ability to defend one through five, his comfort handling the ball, and his rebounding on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest thing Barnes will need to work on to bring his game to the next level is his shooting, especially from deep where he shot only 27.5% from three-point range.
Balsa Koprivica played two seasons with Florida State before entering the draft, as the 7’1” center averaged 9.1 points per game last season, which was a big jump from his freshman season where he only averaged 4.7 points per game. Although he was drafted by the Hornets, his draft rights were traded to the Detroit Pistons as part of a Mason Plumlee deal. Koprivica was named to the 2021 All-ACC Tournament First Team while averaging a team-high 1.4 blocks per game in his sophomore season. With Koprivica being drafted in the late second round, we will not see him in the NBA for at least a couple of years, as he will likely go back to Europe to further develop his game.
The last Florida State player selected on draft night was 6’8” forward RaiQuan Gray. Gray spent three seasons with the Seminoles and greatly improved each year. In his freshman year, Gray averaged 3.9 points per game, while in his sophomore year, he averaged 6.0 points per game. He made the biggest jump in his junior year where he was second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.9 points per game, and also averaged a career-high 6.4 rebounds per game. Gray is great on the defensive end and can pass and handle the ball well but will need to improve his shooting from outside if he wants to become an NBA-caliber player in the future.