After making a surprising selection in the first round, the Spurs went the safer route in the second, grabbing Joe Wieskamp with the 41st overall pick in the draft.
Anyone concerned about the NBA readiness of Josh Primo should be happy with the Wieskamp pick. The 21-year-old junior may lack the upside of others but he has a skill that should translate to the pros sooner rather than later: outside shooting. The 6’6 swingman connected on an eye-popping 46 percent of his three-pointers in his final season in college and averaged 41 percent on a total of over 400 attempts from beyond the arc in his three-year career with the Hawkeyes. His ability to hit from deep both from a standstill and in motion is real and could make him the rare second-rounder that has a chance to contribute as a rookie, considering how desperately the Spurs need spacing.
Whether Wieskamp becomes the next Duncan Robinson or just another great college shooter who falls by the wayside after getting drafted will be determined by his ability to adjust to the speed of the NBA game on both ends. Some of the outside looks that he was used to getting up in college might need to be converted into pump fakes and drives, which could be a big adjustment for a player that doesn’t have the tightest handle. It’s worth noting, though, that Wieskamp has shown flashes of being a capable pick and roll ballhandler and is capable of making some nice passes in tight situations. Even so, it’s hard to envision him ever becoming much more than a tertiary ballhandler, and it’s unlikely he ever develops into a consistent shot creator or playmaker.
In his own zone, Wieskamp is a passable defender who might be targeted at the next level. The marksman was a competent two-way player in college but will struggle to defend bigger players in the NBA. The good news, however, is that Wieskamp possesses physical tools that suggest he could be an adequate defender. The 21-year-old had an outstanding draft combine that saw him post the fourth-highest max vertical leap at 42 inches while also recording the fourth-fastest time in the lane agility drill at 10.7 seconds. Wieskamp’s explosiveness suggests that he should be able to keep up with quick perimeter players at the highest level. Of course, defense is much more than just speed and athleticism, but Wieskamp’s physical traits and basketball smarts suggest that he could develop into a reliable defender in the NBA, which, along with his shooting, can make him a very solid contributor for San Antonio.
With that said, it’s hard to see Wieskamp starting preseason in the rotation considering how many players the Spurs have available at his position, but his one elite skill makes it so that at the very least he should serve as viable injury insurance if any of the players ahead of him on the depth chart miss time. He has a defined role and his effort on the boards and selflessness should help contribute to winning. Ultimately, Wieskamp’s fate will be determined by whether he can hit enough shots without being a liability on defense.
The Spurs needed some outside shooting and have added one of the best marksman in the 2021 class, which has to be considered a win. The front office still has a lot of work to do to balance out the roster in terms of positions, but they have at least addressed some of the needs that relate to specific skills through the draft, which is not a bad way to start the offseason.