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A look at where FSU basketball prospects stand with the 2021 NBA Draft looming

With the 2021 NBA Draft slated for later this month (Thursday, July 29), Florida State has a handful of players looking to start their NBA journeys. In the 2020 NBA Draft, it was Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams representing the Seminoles. In this year’s class, it will be RaiQuan Gray and Scottie Barnes as the two former ‘Noles preparing to hear their names called. Balsa Koprivica and MJ Walker are also going through the draft process.

After last week’s NBA Draft Lottery and NBA Draft Combine (Barnes and Gray attended), it has become clear how the draft will shape up. Below, I give an in-depth look at the stock of each player.



Barnes is one of the premier players of this draft class. Barnes’ defensive prowess combined with his playmaking ability in the open floor have scouts intrigued. Although his jump shot is seen as a work in progress, his overall feel for the game is enough to have him solidified as a top pick.

At the combine, Barnes measured in with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. Here is what NBCSports said about the ACC Freshman of the Year in their five combine takeaways.

¨The wingspan and hand measurements combined with his unique defensive potential naturally will lead to Kawhi Leonard comparisons. But in the short term, he seems to have a decent chance to go higher in the draft than originally thought, sort of like Patrick Williams did last year. Williams also played at FSU under Leonard Hamilton and his success as a rookie could bode well for Barnes.¨

CBS Sports has the 6-foot-8, 225 lbs forward headed to the Orlando Magic with the fifth pick. If Barnes is selected by the Magic, he would join two former Seminoles in Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Bacon. With aging wings like James Ennis and Terrence Ross, Barnes would have an excellent opportunity to come in and contribute immediately on both ends of the floor. The full mock draft can be found here.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Barnes one pick later at sixth overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In this scenario, Barnes would be relied upon to provide instant offense in relief of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kemba Walker. His versatility would pair well with a defensive minded guard in Luguentz Dort. O’Connor’s full mock can be seen here.

Whatever organization lands Barnes, his infectious energy and work ethic will surely captivate the fans like he did in his one year at Florida State. 

Gray, who came in as part of the 2017 recruiting class, is projected to fall anywhere in the mid-late second round. After a redshirt season, Gray improved in every statistical category in his three seasons under head coach Leonard Hamilton. In 2020-21, the forward averaged 11.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Like Barnes, Gray’s versatility to perform multiple skills on the floor has intrigued scouts. In today’s era of position-less basketball, Gray’s passing and ball-handling could be used in spots all over the floor. 

His unique stature (6-foot-7, 268 lbs) are the main concerns draft experts have. Gray’s strength and size is a major element of his game, so it will be vital for him to maintain his physicality if he sheds weight. 

Here is a highlight dunk from one of Gray’s scrimmages at the combine.

https://twitter.com/NBADraft/status/1408557736732864540

Unlike the first two, Koprivica and Walker have a little bit more of an unknown to their future. Both will probably have to latch on as undrafted free agents after draft night. 

Koprivicia benefited from an appearance on the All-ACC Tournament First Team (14 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game). Koprivicia is a project, but has potential if developed in a place like the G-League. The Serbia native flashed a nice offensive package as a Seminole with his soft touch at the rim, but needs to improve his quickness and foot speed to succeed at the professional level.

Koprivica displayed his ability to run the floor with this transition dunk at the G-League Camp on June 21. 

Walker is the only four-year player from the group. The former McDonald’s All-American projects as a 3-and-D wing at the professional level. As he grew older, Walker started to create more scoring off the drive to add to his shooting ability. Like Trent Forrest a year ago, Walker’s ability to fill whatever role needed and play the game the right way could earn him a two-way contract.

He was labeled a standout from the scrimmages at the G-League Camp.

https://twitter.com/Sam_Vecenie/status/1406738249792425989

The draft will air at 8 p.m on ESPN in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 


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