The NBA Draft is set tonight, and lottery teams like the San Antonio Spurs will be looking for their next franchise player to help their team build for the future and return to the playoffs.
It feels like ages ago when we saw the Spurs make a deep playoff run. In fact, in 2022 the franchise snapped a 22-year streak with a postseason appearance.
Since then, it’s been up-and-down for the Spurs. They’ve lost key players such as DeMar DeRozen, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Derrick White, and really have never seemed to fully bounce back from the Kawhi Leonard trade.
However, this year’s draft is another opportunity for San Antonio to find its next foundational piece in hopes of building a dominant franchise once again. Here are some of the best draft fits for the Spurs, who have the ninth, 20th, 25th, and 38th picks.
Texas Online Gambling Update: Beto Calls for Legalized Sports Betting
Jalen Duren, Memphis
This offseason the Spurs should address their 3-point shooting, center position, and look for another guard who can attack the rim like Dejounte Murray, and can play with their second unit and their starters.
With the ninth pick, the Spurs could address their center depth by selecting Jalen Duren from Memphis. Duren is 6-foot-11 and played just one year at Memphis. He’s young, but could develop into the Spurs’ starting center of the future.
Last year at Memphis Duran averaged 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. With his size and upside, he could average a double-double in the NBA one day.
From a personal standpoint this pick makes sense for the Spurs and it allows them to develop a player, which they are notoriously good at — think Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginóbili.
A.J. Griffin, Duke
Another player expected to be a lottery pick is Duke freshmen A.J. Griffin. Griffin recently worked out for the Spurs and is expected to be in consideration to go to San Antonio during draft night.
He’s an excellent 3-point shooter, which is one area where the Spurs need help. Additionally, his father Adrian played in the NBA and is currently an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors. Needless to say, he has a great basketball background, and it makes sense why he’s on Coach Gregg Popovich’s radar at number nine.
Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
Another prospect that is getting attention from several lottery teams is Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis. Like Griffin, Davis also recently worked out for the Spurs ahead of the draft.
Davis is a two-year college player who averaged 19.7 points as a sophomore, which was a significant increase from his freshman season (7.0). David displayed the ability to dribble penetrate, score at the rim, and attack — which again, is an area most think the Spurs need to get better at, particularly when Murray is not on the court.
Davis is an intriguing option as he’s slightly older than most lottery prospects, has good size for a ball handler, and has demonstrated the ability to improve. That is something that the Spurs can likely take to the next level given their coaching credentials.
All-in-all, the Spurs should have a few good fits to choose from at number nine. Additionally, they possess three other picks and can continue to add depth to their roster or even find a trade partner to move up or down.
AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht