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SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft: The Spurs select Jalen Duren with the 9th pick

San Antonio takes an upside swing on one of the most talented frontcourt prospects in the class.

Memphis v Boise State Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The 2022 NBA Draft is only three days away, and though the San Antonio Spurs are confirmed to have met with at least 50 players ahead of the big day, we are no closer to extrapolating out who they might select with one of their four picks this year.

Rumors have continued swirling about PATFO pondering trading up inside the top five of this class or consolidating assets to push closer to the end of the lottery. With the 9th, 20th, 25th, and 38th picks, the good guys are in a prime position to make a move.

For the second Summer in a row, I had the pleasure of teaming up with a handful of the brightest basketball minds across SB Nation for the annual blogger mock draft. So, I put on my GM cap and did my best to navigate a tradeless landscape to improve this roster.

Here is how the draft panned out before the Spurs were on the clock:

  1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith Jr.
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren
  3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero
  4. Sacramento Kings: Jaden Ivey
  5. Detroit Pistons: Bennedict Mathurin
  6. Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray
  7. Portland Trail Blazers: Dyson Daniels
  8. New Orleans Pelicans: Shaedon Sharpe

With the ninth overall pick of the 2022 SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft, the San Antonio Spurs went with Jalen Duren from the University of Memphis. The 18-year-old center is the youngest player in this class, with an excess of measurables that should have front offices daydreaming about the kind of force he can become if the fundamentals develop in a way to maximize those tools a few years down the line.

Duren is a somewhat raw prospect. Though he should have utility as a lob target, rim-protector, traditional roll-man, and transition finisher thanks to quick feet, vertical explosiveness, and reported seven-five wingspan. The 250-pound big man also flashed short-roll passing chops that highlighted his awareness and gravity out of screens. Before we get too carried away, that skill is still a work in progress.

Despite an inconsistent freshman campaign, the young defensive anchor deserves the benefit of the doubt, considering he operated in a less than ideal context with few natural playmakers and modest floor spacing. The Spurs provide Duren with structure in a proven developmental system. He offers them elite frontcourt talent, something they have not been capable of snagging in the draft for the last two decades.

If you want to see every pick from the SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft, click here.

And make sure to check out all of Pounding the Rock’s 2022 NBA Draft coverage.