Questions #4—Whom to draft?
I assume most of the Spurs world sees this question as pretty black and white—the thinking being that we have a glut of guards and not many 4’s and 5’s. The Spurs therefor must be in the draft to find big men. Although I cannot disagree with the first part I do vehemently disagree with the notion that the Spurs must be in the market to draft a 4 or 5 in this year 1st round.
To me drafting should almost always be about one thing—pick the best available player on your board. Obviously none of us will ever be privy to PATFO’s big board and how they have ranked the draft prospects and therefor can never really know if this is the case. But drafting (and especially with how the Spurs use Austin) should be focused primarily on accruing as much talent as possible regardless of position.
We have seen now for numerous years that only the highest picks we have (Kawhi and Vassell) come straight to the Spurs and play minutes right off the bat. There is pretty good chance to believe that if we stay where we currently are (in the playoffs and not the lottery) that our draft pick this summer will begin the normal tutelage of learning the system and how to be a pro down in Austin. I say this to say whoever we draft more than likely will not be helping the big club next year in a significant way anyways. If you are drafting for need and that guy does not even help that need next year then drafting for need was stupid and a flawed argument.
It is obvious to state that we have a lot of guards and a good many wings but after the draft it would be entirely reasonable that we could lose both Patty and DeMar to free agency and Lonnie could follow them out the door the next year. I say this to say that we aren’t just going to always be blessed with good and bountiful guards. As I have stated in previous articles I definitely hope we can bring Patty and DeMar back but it is not a given and it only would take 1 team to blow either guy away and we would lose them after the draft
One thing that does give me pause is that we only signed Jakob to a 3 year deal giving him only 2 years remaining. A big could be drafted developed in Austin for a year or so and then be ready to take over if Jakob were to leave in 2 years. I still think even under this scenario PATFO are best to follow the draft the best player strategy.
It may fall that the best player turns out to be a big and if that’s the case great. But if the best player available when we come on the clock is a guard or wing then that is who we should take. Put him in our player development system and reap the rewards when he is ready to contribute.