In the 2022 NBA Draft the San Antonio Spurs stuck firm and used all of their three first round picks. The Spurs continued with their ‘best player available’ strategy, adding three potential good NBA players to their already young roster.
For clarification, the grades are based on the value of the prospect at the pick they were selected at — not just the sole talent of the player. So with that, let’s get to grading:
Pick 9 - Jeremy Sochan F - Baylor
With their first pick of the 2022 NBA Draft the San Antonio Spurs selected Jeremy Sochan, a 6’9” versatile defensive forward out of Baylor. With high upside players like Dyson Daniels and Shaedon Sharpe coming off the board just before the Spurs were on the clock, Brian Wright went with a prospect who has a high floor but room to improve on both ends of the court.
Sochan is known as one of, if not the best defenders coming out of this years draft, due to his versatility, lateral quickness and IQ. The question marks remain for Sochan on the offensive end where he isn’t a natural scorer or shooter, but he can create for others and is happy to do all the dirty work off the ball. The Baylor forward has recently turned 19-years-old, so he’s one of the youngest prospects in the draft, which fits with the timeline of Primo, Vassell & Keldon.
This is an extremely solid pick for the Silver & Black as Sochan should be able to help out next year playing a position of need for the franchise while still offering upside for the future.
Pick 20 - Malaki Branham W - Ohio State
The Spurs kept their second pick of the draft and used it to select Malaki Branham out of Ohio State. The 6’5” wing was a one-and-done player in college who exploded onto the scene because of his three-level scoring. Branham shot 42.5% from three and had a 59% true shooting on 13.3 points per game.
This is a great value pick for San Antonio as Branham was projected to go slightly higher than 20, but fell a few picks due to teams taking chances on more boom-or-bust prospects like Dalen Terry and Tari Eason. The 19-year-old will provide the Spurs with an injection of scoring — something the team desperately needed at times last season when Dejoutne Murray went to the bench.
The theme of the draft for the Silver & Black was them selecting high floor prospects who can help out from day 1 while still containing quite a bit of untapped potential.
Pick 25 - Blake Wesley G - Notre Dame
The Spurs ended up taking their third player in the first round, this time differing from their first two selections by taking a project in guard Blake Wesley from Notre Dame.
The 6’4” Wesley is the third 19-year-old the Spurs took in this years draft. Wesley has an incredibly high ceiling and has a chance to be a really great NBA player, and possibly the steal of this years draft. The Notre Dame guard is a silky offensive prospect who uses his long strides to get to the rim. He has some explosiveness to him when attacking the basket while having a smooth shooting stroke from the outside that should fall more often as he gets more reps. The most exciting part of his offensive game is that he has a few moves in his bag to create for himself and has shown he can score out of isolation sets. Even better is his defense, as he is already great off the ball by being disruptive and aggressive when jumping passing lanes. He works hard to stay in front of his opponents when defending on-the-ball and his quick hands forces turnovers at times.
While he has a lot of potential, there are some weaknesses he’ll need to address. Wesley doesn’t project to be much of a playmaker and may find it hard to score against contact early on in his NBA career due to his light frame. Also, defensively he could struggle against bigger wings due to his size.
To get Blake Wesley at #25 is phenomenal value for the Spurs, and after taking two ‘safer’ prospects with their first two picks it was nice to see them swing for the fences with their third.