First, let me introduce myself. My name is Cade. I’m 12 years old. I’ve been following basketball for as long as I can remember, and my dream is to one day be in an NBA front office. My dad wrote for Pounding The Rock during the Spurs’ championship run in 2014, but I don’t remember much from that time. But I know that basketball runs through my brain 24/7. I’ve been working on my favorite Spurs picks for the past few weeks and wanted to share them with all of you.
4. Moussa Diabate, large
Diabate has all the tools to be a great rim runner in this league, he just needs to put it all together. He has the length and athleticism to become a good shot-blocker, but sometimes gets lost on defense. On offense, he’s a great finisher around the rim, but he’s not a consistent enough shooter to stretch the floor. Diabate handles the floor well and has shown flashes as a passer. He fills a need in the Spurs’ frontcourt and has room to grow as he swings up.
3. Keon Ellis, Wing
Ellis had a successful college career as the best role player. Ellis won’t completely blow your mind with jaw-dropping reflexes or crazy stat lines, but he does the dirty work on both ends. At 6’6” with a 6’10” wingspan, Ellis can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and can add more versatility to an already solid defensive team. Offensively, he can hit 3s right out of the box and doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. He may not have the edge he would want on a rebuilding team, but he will rush every play.
2. Caleb Houstan, small forward
Caleb Houstan was in the top ten at the start of the year, but he disappointed many with his poor play. He was labeled a 3-point shooter, but he didn’t knock down shots at a high rate. He still showed all the tools that made him a highly rated prospect early on, and he has a great opportunity. At 6’8”, he has great size for a wing back and moves his feet well. If you look beyond the percentages and numbers per game, you can see a raw talent with the potential to become a future starter for the Spurs.
1. Jaylin Williams, Large
If the Spurs have a shot at Williams in the second round, I’m convinced. Williams is a high-IQ defender who can communicate, switch to the perimeter and is extremely good at protecting the rim with his uncanny ability to draw charges. On offense, Williams is a strong blocker and a good short-passer. He showed some promise as a shooter, but that’s probably something he needs to work on in the NBA. Getting a big smart guy who can do a little bit of everything can be very valuable.
4. Hugo Besson, Guard
Besson is a silky-smooth point guard with great skills on the ball. He has precise controls and a wide variety of moves that he can chain together. A big blow to him is the size and build of him. Those concerns, coupled with his poor defense effort, may not make him the best option for the Spurs. San Antonio has several shooting guards and they need help up front, so it would be nice if they dropped Besson in this draft.
3. Gabriele Procida, Wing
Procida is a buttery 6’7” small forward with elite athleticism. Procida probably isn’t a name many people have heard, but he seems like a legitimate NBA player. He is a bouncing spiker who can spread the floor for Dejounte Murray, and he moves well off the ball. On defense, he has enough size and length to be useful. It could be a swing, but it could be useful to have someone like Procida later in the first round.
2. Jake LaRavia, Forward
Jake LaRavia is a versatile forward who has rocketed up the draft boards. LaRavia has great defensive instincts and a sturdy frame to stay ahead of his man. He can play low post or switch to smaller shooting guards. On the offensive end, LaRavia can knock down 3-pointers, shut down attacks and get to the rim in transition. He also has the vision to find open partners. LaRavia is a safe bet, and at only 20 years old, he could possibly become more than just a role player.
1. Dalen Terry, Guard
Dalen Terry would enter the Spurs organization and immediately become a fan favorite. He brings great energy and is an excellent communicator at both ends of the room. Terry is a 6’7” point guard with an energetic demeanor who can defend 1-3. He’s incredibly versatile in that regard, which fits with what the Spurs seem to be leaning toward. On the other side of the ball, he can be a pick-and-roll starter or play alongside another ball handler as a slasher. Terry should make a huge impact both on and off the court from day one.
4. Patrick Baldwin Jr., Forward
Baldwin was another guy who projected into the top half of the lottery, but after a disappointing season, he fell off a few draft boards. He has a good jumper from deep, which would help improve space for the Spurs. He played on a horrible team and the opposing defender invaded him. That won’t happen in the NBA, and he should benefit from a lesser role. But a big knock against him is his athletic ability. Baldwin tested horribly in the combined ranking near or bottom of every strength and agility drill. He should be a threat from beyond the arc, but he’s not my favorite prospect.
3. Jaden Hardy, Guard
Hardy is one of the most electric guards in this class, with an intriguing move that triggers flashes of promising passing. Hardy has deep reach and can drive well past the 3-point line. But a guard with few defensive instincts and minimal effort isn’t what the Spurs should be looking for. He can play with or without the ball, so he has a lot of versatility in that regard, but he just doesn’t fit San Antonio’s needs.
2. Marjon Beauchamp, Wing
Beauchamp is someone many Spurs fans want for one of the later picks, and I agree with that opinion. He is a springy athlete who can run with guards on the open floor. He may also have untapped build abilities that he couldn’t display in the G League alongside dominant guards like Dyson Daniels and Jaden Hardy. He said the Spurs would be a dream destination for him earlier this year and that he loves what they do. I would be delighted to add Beauchamp to this list.
1. Tari Eason, Forward
Tari Eason is someone that a lot of people have in the lottery on their big boards, but I’m a bit more skeptical about him. Eason is a raw, skillful forward who has great instincts, athletic ability and the wingspan to be a disruptive defender in the NBA. That said, his offense is a work in progress. He’s elite at the rim, but with a streaky shot and limited feel, I don’t trust him to create his own shot that often. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spurs decided to sign him at nine.
4. Ousmane Dieng, Wing
Of all the players who climbed boards in recent weeks, Dieng has risen the most. After an extremely lackluster start to the season in which he rarely contributed anything other than defense, he finally started to show signs of life and make shots. Dieng was also an underrated playmaker, plus he has a promising edge as a smooth shot-maker and versatile defender. His body isn’t fully developed and he would be a reach at nine, but at 6’10” with those kinds of skills, the Spurs have to consider him here.
3. Dyson Daniels, Guard
Dyson Daniels is the best teammate. He’s always making the right reads on offense as a playmaker. His shooting splits don’t stand out at first glance, but he reportedly made significant improvements to his form throughout the year. Daniels is a great defender on and off the ball who can cover 1-3, and is widely considered one of the top-tier stoppers in this draft. He may not have as much of an advantage as possible due to his inability to create his own shot, but with everything else he does on the floor, that flaw can be overlooked.
2. Jalen Duren, big
Duren is uncannily gifted with amazing size, structure, and athleticism. He has the build of a bodybuilder and is only 18 years old. Duren has great timing and instincts that make him a force to block shots in the paint, but he also possesses the foot speed to switch to smaller players from time to time. On the offensive end, Duren can set up solid screens and finish at the rim with ease due to his ridiculous measurability. He’s also a talented shortstop, with the ability to draw attention inside the paint and make the right reads, leading many pundits to compare him to Robert Williams. He’s not a shooter and his post footwork needs improvement, but at such a young age, the Spurs could help him work on those areas over time.
1. Jeremy Sochan, Forward
Jeremy Sochan fits exactly what the Spurs desperately need, a changeover four who can defend all positions and serve as a connector on offense. Sochan has the speed to defend smaller shooting guards, but the length and size to cover dominant opponents in the low post. He was one of the leaders of a dominant Baylor defense last season, and he was just a freshman. With tantalizing tools and unique versatility, Sochan will cause problems for opposing teams. On offense, Sochan strikes with clever passes and well-timed cuts. He doesn’t have the ability to create or make shots yet, but he leaves his fingerprints on the game everywhere with the hustle, character and intangibles of him. He would be my pick at number nine.
So, there it is, my picks for every pick the Spurs have. I think you can catch a pattern of the types of players that I like, who are versatile players with great defense. I don’t think this is the exact outcome that will happen on draft night, but these are the players that I think can fit into the Spurs’ system right away.