It’s draft week! That means Spurs fans will finally get to see Victor Wembanyama shake Adam Silver’s hand and hold up a Silver and Black jersey. What a beautiful sight it will be.
Just because PATFO got the first overall pick, does not mean they sat on their laurels and waited for draft day. Quite the contrary. The coaching staff and scouting department were busy working out NBA draft prospects who they could select with their 33rd and 44th overall picks, or sign as undrafted free agents.
According to the HoopsHype draft workout tracker, reports from prospects (that includes Instagram stories) San Antonio worked out a total of 18 players, with two of them withdrawing from the draft earlier this month.
Of the 18 players they worked out, seven were guards, five were wings/forwards and four were centers. Most of the prospects are projected to go in the second round, and profile as role players long term. Despite rumors of the Spurs acquiring another lottery pick, there has been no confirmation of San Antonio working out projected top-10 players such as the Thompson twins, Cason Wallace, Kobe Bufkin or Anthony Black.
It’s worth noting that the Spurs worked out Kansas’ Jalen Wilson and NC State’s Terquavion Smith in last year’s draft process, before the prospects pulled their names out and returned to school. They are both projected second round picks in 2023.
Just because the Spurs don’t work a player out does not mean they won’t select them. If the scout is solid, and they believe in the talent, they don’t need a one-on-one workout to seal the deal. However it should be worth noting that all three of the Spurs first round picks last year (Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley) worked out for the team before draft day.
Read more below to learn more about who the Spurs have worked out, and what players fans should have their eyes on come Thursday.
- Jordan Walsh, Wing/Forward, Arkansas
- Jaime Jaquez Jr., Forward, UCLA
- Amari Bailey, Guard, UCLA
Who to watch for: Jordan Walsh
San Antonio hasn’t worked out too many players who are projected first round picks. That makes sense given they only own the number one pick. The players they have worked out are players that project as connecting pieces, rather than big swings at another star.
The Razorbacks’ Walsh sticks out here. The 6-foot-7 wing has done a lot to improve his draft stock since the combine. His athleticism, defense and motor were on high display in the scrimmage where he put up 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals. In his freshman season, Walsh wasn’t an offensive focal point, due to the presence of Anthony Black, Ricky Council IV and Nick Smith Jr. He was however the defensive engine that chugged the hogs to the Sweet 16.
Walsh was in the 90th percentile for opponent points per possession (.709 ppp) and his defensive assignments shot just 33.6% from the field against him. With his combination of size, length, speed and hustle, he projects as a strong defender at the next level. He shot well at the rim as well, hitting 55% of his attempts from that range.
The wing is a bit raw offensively, and will likely need some time in Austin to hone his offensive game. He averaged just 7 points per game at Arkansas on 43% shooting from the field and 28% from three. The Spurs have a good track record of helping defensive wings figure out their offensive games. Walsh could be the next in line.
Second Round Role Players
- Adam Flagler, Guard, Baylor
- Charles Bediako, Center, Alabama
- Tousan Evboumwan, Forward/Center, Princeton
- Jordan Miller, Wing, Miami
- Hunter Tyson, Wing, Clemson
Who to watch for: Adam Flagler
San Antonio has worked out a nice crop of successful college players. Flagler, Bediako, Evbouman and Miller all played well in the NCAA tournament. Tyson nearly led Clemson to a bid in March as well.
This group also features some perimeter shooters in the back court who could greatly help the Spurs. Tre Jones, Blake Wesley, Devonte’ Graham and Malaki Branham are not what you would call knock down three-point floor spaces. Baylor’s Flagler would be a nice piece to add some shooting to that group.
Flagler was a unanimous All-Big 12 selection in his senior season where he lit up opposing defenses from deep. The combo guard averaged 15.6 points and 4.6 assists on 42/40/79 shooting splits. His shooting is a threat in a variety of ways. He shot 38.9% on pull-up threes and 40.6% on catch and shoot attempts from range. Flagler would give the Spurs an efficient shooting guard that they needed last season, and has enough experience to earn real playing time.
Second Round Swings
- Dexter Dennis, Guard, Texas A&M
- Justyn Mutts, Wing, Virginia Tech
- Manny Bates, Center, Butler
Who to watch for: Dexter Dennis
Here we have a group of players with high defensive upside, but are not guaranteed to get selected in the second round. Mutts is a rangy wing defender and Bates is an eraser at the rim. But it’s the Aggie that should have Spurs fans excited.
Dennis was a lockdown defender for an A&M squad that overachieved in a tough SEC. Opposing players shot just 32% from the field when guarded by the 6-foot-5 shooting guard. One of the more niche skills he has is the agility to chase guys down for blocks. As the Spurs look to play a fast paced game around Wembanyama, Dennis could be a sneaky second round pick who could create havoc on defense and play in transition.
Dexter Dennis is the best chasedown artist in the 2023 NBA Draft. Incredible shot block timing, athleticism, and length always on display in transition defense— Mavs/Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) June 8, 2023
He's overall one of the best defenders in the draft, but this one niche skill is elite; he's never out of plays on D pic.twitter.com/0aev4dxvxb
Fringe Second Round/Undrafted Free Agents
- Jarkel Joiner, Guard, NC State
- Gabe Kalscheur, Guard, Iowa State
- Erik Stevenson, Guard, West Virginia
- Osun Osunniyi, Center, Iowa State
- Nick Ogenda, Guard, DePaul
Who to watch for: Erik Stevenson
This group includes players who will likely go undrafted, but could find their way onto the Spurs summer league squad. A lot of these guys are scrappy, energy players, specifically Iowa State’s Kalscheur. However, it’s the player that doesn’t fit that profile who could be the best pick up.
Stevenson was a bit of a journeyman in college, playing for Wichita State, Washington and South Carolina before arriving in Morgantown. As a fifth year senior, the guard averaged 15 points, 2 assists and a steal on 48/38/80 shooting splits. He was a major reason why the Mountaineers made it to the NCAA tournament. In Stevenson, the Spurs would get a pure shooter who is solid with the ball in his hands.