Just like any draft night, the general manager of each team talks to their respective media channels about their individual drafts. So after a draft full of contentious decisions, Spurs GM Brian Wright addressed the media. The next 10 minutes included intriguing questions which rightfully got tantalizing answers from Wright about the direction this San Antonio team is heading.
Let’s explore and dissect some of the more interesting quotes given by the Spurs general manager, and speculate what they may tell us about the draft and the future of the San Antonio Spurs.
Quote 1: “In every draft, you pursue opportunities, moving up, moving down,”
So first and foremost the most prevalent question Wright got yesterday was about the reach of drafting Josh Primo at 12th, and if the Spurs had an opportunity to trade down. The Spurs general manager went on to say that in each and every draft the Spurs organization do their due diligence and look at the possibility of moving up and down. This should squash the criticism of that they didn’t look to move down, as he clearly states they “pursued” opportunities but in this case it didn’t work out. It could have been for any reason, whether it was the fact they couldn’t find a trade partner, or that they were afraid if they moved down their target Primo would have been taken, which most likely would have been at 16 or 18 to OKC, sources have reported.
Quote 2: “Josh’s development timeline will be Josh’s development timeline. There’s no pressure from us.”
This was a really interesting quote from Wright about the future development of Primo. From what I can gather, he wanted to be tightlipped about the Spurs plans for Primo and not put expectations on him, like hoping for him to be a starter in X amount of time or how long he’ll spend in the G-League for the Austin Spurs. It sounds like they will allow Primo to develop on his own path no matter how the team is faring.
Quote 3: “We want to continue to add shooting. We also need to get bigger, solidify the front court.”
Good news! When asked about plans for free agency which starts next week, the Spurs GM responded that they wanted to add shooting, while also getting bigger and adding depth to their front court. This is exactly what Spurs fans wanted to hear, especially the ones who were disappointed in the drafting of another guard to this roster. This should allow San Antonio fans to breath a little easier the next few days as we wait to see who the Spurs add with their 48 million dollars of cap space.
Expanding on his comments, it is good to see that the front office recognizes the need of shooting to this roster, which was dead last in that category last season. They started to address it in the draft with Primo and Joe Wieskamp, who are both outstanding shooters off the catch. These comments also mean players like the John Collins, Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk, or Kelly Oubre will be the targets this offseason, as they bring size, shooting and depth to the front court.
Quote 4: “Obviously, we love DeMar. He has been incredibly important to this organization. His leadership, his play. He knows how we feel about him & vice versa.”
Interestingly, after the comments DeMar DeRozan made on Shannon Sharpe’ podcast “Club Shay Shay”, it seemed almost guaranteed DeRozan was going to leave the Spurs. As he mentioned, he was after winning and competing for a championship, even if it meant a little less money. A few days later Marc Spears tweeted that the Spurs are not out of the race to resign DeMar, and Zach Lowe’s also talked on his podcast “The Lowe Post” about how when speaking to executives around the league, his sources have gone from 80/20 DeMar leaving, to now 50/50 DeMar could stay.
The comments here from Wright is no surprise, as the Spurs obviously value what DeMar has done since he arrived back in 2018. The end of the quote is more intriguing to me as Wright says, “He knows how we feel about him & vice versa.” This would indicate that DeMar has the upmost respect and admiration for the organization, and that could possibly lead to him staying in the end, especially if he can’t get the combination of enough money and a winning situation from another team in the league.
Quote 5: “Best player available, best potential long-term ceiling. Some key targets we wanted to hit, versatility, shooting, and we think we hit on both of those.”
Well, there it is Spurs fans. San Antonio felt at the number 12 pick in the draft the best available player with the highest ceiling was Josh Primo. Some may not agree or see it yet, but the Spurs got the guy they coveted, and you would rather them have a guy they wanted instead of a second choice. This quote gives us a clue about how the Spurs will draft in future years, especially with Brian Wright at the helm. They will draft for best player available who also has the highest upside, not necessarily the most “NBA Ready”, while wanting them to be versatile and able to shoot.
It isn’t a surprise that the Spurs want players who have those qualities, due to the direction that the league is going in. NBA teams who have players that are versatile on both ends of the floor, can defend multiple positions, and are dynamic shooters are usually the teams that are playing in June, and that’s ultimately what the Spurs want.