In many ways the draft process has been less interesting for Spurs fans than last offseason. Yes, there is the excitement of getting the first overall pick and a potentially franchise changing player in Victor Wembanyama. Yet, it’s easy to feel left out from scouting conversations and prospect debates when it’s a near certainty who your team is selecting.
Well, if NBA Big Board’s Rafael Barlowe’s reports of the Spurs looking to acquire another pick in the lottery is true, things could get interesting quickly. In a draft that has a lot of analysts excited, it makes sense to grab another high end prospect to pair with Wemby as the next phase of Spurs basketball officially begins, especially as they look to improve at the lead guard spot moving forward. Here are some players that the Spurs should target if they decide to acquire another lottery selection.
Scoot Henderson, Guard, G-League Ignite
For as talented as he is, there seems to be a lot of question marks around Henderson. With the second and third picks going to teams that already have established lead guards, his fit in the top three has become unclear. Standing at 6-foot-2 and lacking a reliable three-point shot, it’s hard to imagine Scoot playing the off-guard spot consistently. That concern has caused wings like Brandon Miller and the Thompson twins to rise up boards, and secure workouts with Charlotte and Portland.
Is there a chance San Antonio could sneak in here and grab the two best players in the draft? Make no doubt about it — Henderson is the best player available after Wemby. His combination of athleticism, playmaking ability and competitiveness make him a high level point guard prospect. He would fit perfectly in San Antonio with his ability to push the pace, cut off of the ball, and be a threat in the pick and roll. The combination with Wembanyama could dominate the league for years to come.
How high is the price to get him? Portland wouldn’t move off of the pick unless they got a star to help Damian Lillard bring the city a championship. That player doesn’t exist on the Spurs roster. What if he falls to the fourth pick? Would a package of Keldon Johnson, Malaki Branham and multiple firsts interest the in-state rival Rockets? It’s a long shot, but the window is opened ever so slightly for the Spurs to pull off one of the most impressive draft heists in NBA history.
Cason Wallace, Guard, Kentucky
It was reported today that Wallace cancelled a workout with the Atlanta Hawks, who select 15th overall. Typically this signals that a player has a promise before that selection – ergo, Wallace likely knows he will be selected in the lottery. If this is true, San Antonio will need to pay a steep price for the 19-year-old guard.
Wallace is an intriguing prospect with his combination of size, defensive ability and shooting potential. He averaged 11.7 points and 4.3 assists, while adding two steals a game and shooting 35% from three at Kentucky. As is usual with Wildcat guards, Wallace was asked to fit into the team, rather than let his talents shine before moving onto the NBA. He played off of the ball more than he likely would in the NBA, and could only show flashes of his playmaking ability. To prove he can be an impactful starting point guard in the NBA, he will need to show that his playmaking skills go beyond those flashes.
For San Antonio, Wallace wouldn’t be a sure thing at point guard, but has enough upside to warrant a look. His defense would be welcomed at the point of attack, and his shooting ability would fit in nicely with the current roster. At 6-foot-4, he could play either guard spot, and add to the already versatile group they are building. It could be worth the price if the Spurs can acquire him from a team with a pick in the 10 to 14 range, without parting ways with a starting caliber wing like Johnson or Devin Vassell. Multiple firsts for someone like Wallace makes sense. His primary playmaking question marks may be the prohibiting factor in making a deal including a major piece of San Antonio’s core.
Ausar Thompson, Wing, Overtime Elite
There are a lot of questions about the Thompson twins right now. Who is better, Amen or Ausar? Is the shooting going to improve? What was the competition in the OTE really like? Could they rise into the top-five? Could they fall into the back half of the lottery? The answers to these questions could loom large for San Antonio.
In what feels like a lifetime ago (it’s been two months) Spurs Talk’s LJ Ellis reported that San Antonio is high on the Thompson twins. If this is true, they may look to get into the lottery to take one alongside Wembanyama. Amen profiles as the better lead playmaker of the two with his high passing feel, elite athleticism and strong defensive upside. Yet it’s Ausar who actually may make more sense for the Spurs. Scouts have compared him to Andre Iguodala, a player who is a versatile defender, great secondary playmaker, and strong connective piece for a roster. He would not solve the Spurs point guard issues right away, but he’s one of the best ball handlers in the draft and has a high basketball IQ.
Ausar would fit into the current roster makeup as another athletic player who can play multiple positions and disrupt opponents on defense. His draft range is a bit of a question mark, and the Spurs would likely have to trade into the mid lottery to acquire him. Think teams like Utah, Washington and Dallas. Could the Spurs pry away a pick from one of these teams for a player on a good contract plus future draft capital? If they truly value the Thompson twins as rumored, one of them slipping a few picks could be enough for the Spurs to strike.