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Guard prospects on the Spurs' radar: Terry Rozier, Olivier Hanlan and Joseph Young

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The draft is almost here and the Spurs have worked out some prospects which could be on their range in the first round. Here's a look at some of the guards who could play in San Antonio next season.

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The draft is upon us and the Spurs have been busy, looking at prospects to select with the 26th pick in the draft. Workouts and interviews are kept quiet in San Antonio -- like everything else the front office does -- but we do know that the Spurs have met with some players who could be in play with their first round pick. In this series we'll take a look at some of those potential targets. Here are the guards.

The Spurs selecting a lead guard who can't defend wings makes little sense. Tony Parker and Patty Mills are already under contract and Cory Joseph could be retained as well in restricted free agency. That's why it's not surprising they only worked out one likely first round pick and two players who could be there at the end of the second round.

It's unlikely PATFO go small this year but if they do, they might select Louisville's Terry Rozier, Boston College's Olivier Hanlan or Oregon's Joseph Young.

Terry Rozier

  • Age: 21 years old.
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 190 pounds.
  • Position: Combo guard.

College career

After a decent freshman year in which he had time to adjust to the level of competition, Rozier was thrown into the fire in his sophomore season. Not only his minutes increased but also his role, especially after starting point guard Chris Jones was dismissed from the team. Rozier had to switch to point guard full time and become the team's best perimeter scorer. He responded by leading Louisville in points but his efficiency suffered in the process. Despite the turmoil, the Cardinals made the Elite Eight with Rozier showing his worth as a defender and rebounder in the process.

Fit with the Spurs

If Cory Joseph leaves in free agency, Rozier would be a perfect replacement. His long wingspan and relentless defensive intensity make him a pest and he's quick enough to get to the rim. His shooting might be a problem (30 percent from beyond the arc) and he's more comfortable with the ball in his hands than spotting up. He's also more of a scorer than a set up man, averaging just three assists in 36 minutes per game in his last year in college.

In theory, Rozier -- just like Joseph -- would be able to guard two positions, giving San Antonio more lineup flexibility. Unlike Joseph, however, Rozier has a tendency to press the issue and be too aggressive at times on both ends. Whether that's a product of being thrust into a larger role than he was ready for or just his nature remains to be seen.

Outlook

The absolute best case scenario for Rozier is Kyle Lowry, as they are both tough defenders who sometimes struggle with decision-making. Rozier's court vision is not near Lowry's at this point so Dennis Schroder might be a more apt description of his ceiling, although Cory Joseph with more of an edge probably describes him best.

Olivier Hanlan

  • Age: 22 years old
  • Height: 6'4"
  • Weight: 186 pounds.
  • Position: Combo guard.

College career

Hanlan played three years for Boston College and had to carry his team for the majority of those seasons. The team never posted a winning record in his time there or had any player drafted, which shows just how little talent there was next to him. That forced Hanlan to take on a huge offensive role in which he largely excelled, finishing his college career averaging 18 points on 45 percent from the floor and 36 percent from beyond the arc. The challenge for him will be adjusting to a much smaller role in the NBA and showing he's not just a scorer but can also do the little things.

Fit with the Spurs

Hanlan projects to be a secondary scorer and creator in the league, as he doesn't have the explosiveness to be a primary option. For him to be able to excel on that new role, he will need a killer three-point shot. If he can connect consistently both off ball screens and spotting up, he could become a good weapon for the Spurs to have off the bench thanks to his ability to finish inside and make the right pass. His short wingspan could be a problem on defense, though, and his limited upside makes him a strange pick for a team that typically goes with projects when it's not trying to add immediate help.

Outlook

Shelvin Mack and Donald Sloan seem like apt comparisons for a player that handled the ball a lot and was relied on to score at the college level but had to transition into a much smaller role in the NBA. Hanlan's best case scenario might be in the Jordan Clarkson - Langston Galloway spectrum, two guys who were great scorers in college and are trying to adapt to being lead guards in the NBA.

Joseph Young

  • Age: 22 years old
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 182 pounds.
  • Position: Combo guard.

College career

After transferring from Houston following his sophomore season, Joseph Young emerged as a deadly scorer in Oregon. In his senior year he averaged 21 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the floor and led the Ducks to the second round in the NCAA Tournament. Young never did more than putting the ball in the hoop in college but he did it with such a consistency and in such a variety of ways that counting him out as an NBA prospect despite his size and the questions about his defense seems foolish, as there are plenty of undersized designated scorers in the league right now.

Fit with the Spurs

Remember Gary Neal? Young is a more athletic, less fundamentally sound version of him. He takes bad shots at times, can't defend or really run an offense but will get hot and provide scoring. We've seen Gregg Popovich living with that trade-off. The problem with Young is he's doesn't exert a lot of effort on as a defender and changing his mindset to that of a role player who has to hustle in every possession might be hard after he had so much success as dominant scorer in college. Neal had to mature before making it in the NBA and Young might have to follow that path.

Outlook

His upside as bench sparkplug is high, which could turn him into a steal if he falls deep into the second round, but at this point he projects to be more Donald Sloan than Louis Williams. If he embraces the fact that he will need to try his hardest on defense to avoid being a liability, he could one day become a good sixth man.