The Toronto Raptors stunned just about everybody during the 2021 NBA Draft.
The team held the fourth-overall pick entering a draft that was considered by many to feature a "big four" at the top of the class. Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, and Jalen Suggs highlighted the four players who were the consensus top picks in the draft. While the first three went off the board to the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively, the Raptors sat at No. 4 with a seemingly easy decision to make in selecting Suggs.
But that's not how things played out. Masai Ujiri and the rest of the squad's front office shocked the entire fan base by selecting forward Scottie Barnes ahead of the guard.
This sent Raptors Twitter into a frenzy that had both positive and negative takes on the franchise's pick.
When you become a Toronto Raptor
Welcome Scottie Barnes pic.twitter.com/3kLTLtDXz0
— Amit Mann (@Amit_Mann) July 30, 2021
scottie barnes & og anunoby in five years pic.twitter.com/FUSz8lazkd
— alex (@steven_lebron) July 30, 2021
Remember guys, a year ago, Scottie Barnes was regarded as the better prospect than Jalen Suggs. Let’s not act like this guy is a random scrub!
— frates (@CratesOfFrates) July 30, 2021
I know everyone wanted Jalen Suggs, but ESPN listed Scottie Barnes strengths as:
1) versatile defender
2) court vision and
3) winning player
That reads like the Raptors Modus Operandi.
— Tim Micallef (@tim_micallef) July 30, 2021
"Masai, why did you pick Scottie Barnes, it was a mistake?"
"Look at this trophy and tell me I make mistakes again." pic.twitter.com/Enx4HCGeEV
— Marx Gasol, WGC (@socialistraptor) July 30, 2021
These are some of the more positive reviews Toronto's front office received for its selection. Unfortunately, the number of favourable remarks were outweighed by the number of frustrated responses.
Raptors fans watching their team pick Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs pic.twitter.com/8Wy4ORKPav
— Stephen A. Smith Burner (@TheSASBurner) July 30, 2021
I’m rooting for Scottie Barnes. I really am. But I don’t understand this pick whatsoever.
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) July 30, 2021
If I watched this lineup for the rest of the season and ended up with Scottie Barnes, I'm having a personal meeting with Masai. pic.twitter.com/SmzxUDHrlt
— HE STAY (@ClutchKLow) July 29, 2021
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) July 30, 2021
I’d never question Masai, but Barnes over Suggs is a biiiiig bet. Oh my. Thought Suggs was a shoe-in for TO.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 30, 2021
Jalen Suggs is going to become a star and this is going to sting. Just gotta hope that Masai and Bobby hit well with the Barnes selection and for him to become a star too...
— John Viveiros (@johnviveiros_) July 30, 2021
— Jess Longthorne (@LongthorneJess) July 30, 2021
Although Ujiri has a great track record, especially when it comes to making bold moves (ahem, Kawhi Leonard), it seems like Toronto's fan base is conflicted on how to feel after his daring move at the draft.
The Barnes vs. Suggs debate is likely one that will carry on for years on Raptors Twitter, and only time will tell whether Toronto made the right call.
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