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What an ideal Spurs draft night would look like

The Spurs have four picks in the top 40 in the 2022 draft. The PtR staff tries to figure out the best way to use them.

NBL Rd 19 - New Zealand v SEM Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

What would the Spurs’ ideal draft look like to you?

Marilyn Dubinski: My ideal draft would see the Spurs come out deeper with more young potential at the forward and center positions — something they severely lack at this time. Reports are saying the Spurs are hoping to move up from 9th to select Keegan Murray, which would certainly make my evening, but if that doesn’t happen, it would start with selecting the best available big at 9th. (It can be a forward or center, but I want him to be 6’8” or taller with shooting range and defensive upside. I’ll leave names to the experts.)

After that, I would like to see the Spurs try to consolidate their two late first round picks (and maybe the second round pick and any other spare parts that are needed) into a mid first round pick and/or a relatively young veteran who can help the team immediately, like OG Anunoby. If they do keep one or both of their picks in the 20’s, I would like to see them use at least one on another big with potential upside, like Nikola Jovic. (Our dreams of Tall Luka didn’t work out, so why not take a stab at Skinny Nikola? Gotta have some fun.) However they get there, I just want to see a taller, deeper Spurs front court.

Mark Barrington: To be honest, I’ve been a little reticent about making draft predictions after last year’s pick of Primo caught me completely unaware. I think the Primo pick will work out in the long run, but at the time, I felt blindsided by it. I think the lesson I learned is that even if you spend a lot of time researching the publicly available information, you really have no idea what kind of factors the professionals are using to evaluate talent, and it’s quite likely they know a whole lot more than you do. So my expectation is that I will once again be scratching my head and scrambling to do a lot of research after the Spurs make their picks. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I will say what I’d like to see, which totally will never happen.

The Spurs have a ton of holes in their roster, so there’s no need to choose anyone for roster fit. They will have to go for the best player available at the ninth place. I think it might end up being Johnny Davis or Benedict Mathurin, even though the team needs more help in the front court. I wouldn’t mind Sochan if the Spurs think they can develop his offensive game.

I don’t think the Spurs will keep all three of their first rounders, so I see them trading either of both of them for draft picks in the future, unless a tall power forward that they want is available in the late teens, in which case they try to trade both picks for that player. I’m thinking about Tari Eason or Ousmane Dieng. I also like Nikola Jovic, but I wouldn’t trade up from 20 to take him. Whoever gets picked in the second round will end up playing in Austin most of their rookie year, so I want the Spurs to take a project with that pick, maybe someone like Jabari Walker?

Bruno Passos: It feels like many fans (including me) would like the team to shoot for higher upside this year, while prioritizing the holes in the frontcourt. The team (probably) doesn’t want its current lot of 4 picks to turn into 4 contracts next season, given the current makeup of the roster. I assume the move that makes everyone happy is some consolidation that allows them to either move up or a trade that brings in more talent.

What’s a realistic version of that? Without being too invested in the specific players selected, because I’m not really, I’ll say an attempt to trade up from 9 (I would consider few guys on the team untouchable for a top-4 selection) or snagging the best available player that falls, and/or combining 20 and 25 to move into the teens and taking an upside swing on a wing, like a Dieng or Eason. If the Spurs come out of this with a bit more on-ball creation and size/versatility at the 4, I think that’s a successful draft.

Also: isn’t this version of Jokic already ‘Skinny Nikola’??

Dubinski: Hmm, how about Slender Nikola? The Toothpick? We may need to work on this if it comes to fruition.

Jesus Gomez: I think the ideal night starts with a high upside pick at 9th. Moving up would make sense if someone in the top three drops, but if no one does, staying put would be fine, as long as the front office believes there’s someone available at that spot that could be a starter in the near future and a star at some point in their career. If I have to provide some names, Jalen Duren and Ousmane Dieng come to mind.

The sensible thing after that would probably be to try to get a young veteran or a future first rounder for one or both of the lower picks, but packaging those for a higher one this year would be more fun and could potentially have a bigger reward, so that’s what I want to see happening. There’s a world where the Spurs get involved in some sort of three-team trade and come away with the Hornets’ 13th pick, for example. If they do, they could take another big swing on some prospect with question marks but upside, like Jeremy Sochan or AJ Griffin. Developing two rookies at the same time could be hard for a team with a lot of youth already on the roster, but in the end it could be worth it for San Antonio.

After that, all that would be left would be picking the best draft-and-stash prospect with the second rounder for fans to obsess about for the next couple of years. I’d call that a successful day.

J.R. Wilco: I want to be clear that I’m taking this question literally, so I’m thinking about an Ideal draft with a capital I. That means I’m judging it against the Spurs’ best draft night since they nabbed Timmy — and that’s the 2011 draft when they traded George Hill to the Pacers in return for moving up and grabbing Kawhi Leonard and developing him into a superstar.

So ideally, the team would see someone they love drop, have a willing trading partner agree, and package some combination of draft pick and current asset (even if it hurts the fanbase’s heart like losing Hill did eleven years ago) and pull the trigger to end up with a franchise-defining talent that takes them to a victory in the Finals within 3 years.

I know that’s a lot, but it’d certainly be ideal.