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What the Spurs did with the 30th pick in SBN's mock draft

Tasked with playing PATFO in Ridiculous Upside's SBNation blogger mock draft. There's no telling what they might do, but this is a combination of a guess of what I think they are looking for and how I would go about achieving it.

Roberto Serra/Iguana Press

After an extended postseason run that ended with an NBA Finals win, the Spurs must now immediately turn their attention to the 2014 NBA Draft. San Antonio has one first-round pick, slotted for number 30. Having just won an NBA championship while showing the ability to play all combinations of fast and slow; big, small, and medium; and inside and outside, it's difficult to pin-point specific roster "needs". Even more difficult is addressing those needs with end-of-round draft picks. Given the expectations of competing again next year, tack on an even greater degree of difficulty in finding a player at that low a spot who would be able to contribute right away.

If I were asked to identify needs or roster spots where upgrades could provide the most benefit, I would say backup point guard and backup forward. I think we are pretty well set on the wing, as Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Danny Green, and Kawhi Leonard are all capable of playing either wing position. Cory Joseph has looked solid but hasn't clearly established himself as a bona fide backup point guard, and Patty Mills is likely to have plenty of suitors in the free-agent market. At the backup forward spot, the Spurs typically play smaller with Belinelli or Green subbing in for Leonard - but both of those players can struggle against larger combo forwards. Ideally, the player selected would be quick enough to switch on pick-and-rolls and big enough to defend forwards in the post while also being able to hit spot-up corner 3's and maybe drive in a straight line towards the basket.  The ideal backup point guard would be able to play on-the-ball defense like Joseph, shoot like Mills, and distribute.

Again, those players either don't exist or will be off the board by the time the Spurs pick at number 30, so why not trade the number 30 for two second-round picks? This is exactly the opportunity that presented itself as the blogger from Liberty Ballers had a number of second-round picks at his disposal and wanted to move back into the first round. We agreed to swap number 30 for number 32 and number 52. This gives the Spurs four second round draft picks this year. While the RU mock draft was only for the first round, there are three* players I think are worth keeping an eye on as Spurs' targets in the second.

The first target is Vasilije Micic, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Serbia. He has great size for a point guard, has shown great vision, and is widely regarded as the best European point guard prospect in this draft. His biggest weaknesses are turnovers and an inconsistent jump shot. The turnovers can be partially explained by his role in the offense, as he runs the pick and roll more than any point guard in the draft, International or American. He played an excellent game against the U.S. select team, putting up 14 points and 10 assists in only 25 minutes. Like Tony Parker, he's been playing at or near the professional level since he was 16. While he could be a late first-round pick, given who the other bloggers were taking it looks like he would be available at number 32. He's only 20, so even if the Spurs have Mills and Joseph on the roster next season, they could opt to stash Micic overseas for a few years and give him a chance to make an impact later. If Mills goes elsewhere, Micic could come in and contribute as an end-of-rotation player this year while splitting some time with the Austin Toros.

The second target is Alec Brown. He's a 7-foot center from Wisconsin-Green Bay who shot 44% from beyond the arc in college. While he's not the strongest in the post, he does have the quickness to face up off the block and take his man off the dribble. Defensively, he averaged nearly three blocked shots per game and did it without fouling at a high rate. I would take him with the 52nd pick and hopefully let him go to Europe for a year or two, bulk up a bit, and get used to playing at a slightly higher level of competition than he faced at Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The third target, who I would select with the 59th pick, is Eric Moreland. Like Brown, I would expect Moreland to spend time in Europe or the D-League. He's a great rebounder with a 7'3 wingspan at the PF/C position. He blocks shots (two per game) and gets steals but can't do much offensively. He's definitely a project but he could turn out to be a solid rotation player. At 6'9, he's big enough to switch on to some centers and quick enough to cover most combo forwards. There's no question he's an NBA-caliber athlete, but there are some questions about whether he's got an NBA-caliber workrate or skill-set.

*I know I said that we hypothetically now have four second-round picks and only three targets. In non-fake GM land, the Spurs have the last pick in the first round and two second rounders. These are the three players I would probably look at as realistic targets for those three slots.