I have completed the five stages of grief and have accepted the fact our Spurs did not win the NBA Lottery and will draft 9th in the first round. The Spurs also hold the 20th and 25th picks, so we should be optimistic about all the moves that may happen between now and the June 23rd draft.
The Spurs could move up. They could trade away a pick or two for a veteran or future pick. One thing is for sure – there is no way the Spurs keep 3 first rounders. That’s too much money to guarantee… Too much space on the roster for rookies.
Let’s assume the Spurs keep the number 9 pick. The optimistic side of me thinks that number is due for a big hit – much like a slot machine that has not paid out in a long while. Over the past ten years, the *best player drafted at #9 is center Jakob Poeltl, back in 2016.
Odd thing is, prior to that, the number 9 pick was quite lucky. It produced 9 NBA All-Stars within a 15-year period (1997-2011): Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andre Iguodala, Joakim Noah, DeMar DeRozan, and Gordon Hayward. As a Spurs fan, I’d be ecstatic if our team landed a player with all-star talent. That number 9 pick is due for a hit!
Mock drafts are all over the place as to who the Spurs would draft at that spot. Players that could be available include Wisconsin shooting guard Johnny Davis (compared to Manu Ginobili and Josh Hart), Memphis center Jalen Duren (compared to Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan), Duke small forward AJ Griffin (compared to Jimmy Butler and Saddiq Bey), LSU power forward Tari Eason (compared to OG Anunoby and Patrick Williams), and Arizona shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin (compared to Buddy Hield and Quentin Richardson).
Those comparisons come from NBADraftRoom.com and Bleacher Report.
My two favorites of that group are Johnny Davis and Tari Eason, though Eason might still be available at 20. Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan is also an intriguing prospect at forward, who I have seen compared to Nicolas Batum and Kyle Kuzma. Whoever the Spurs fall in love with, they have the draft capital needed to move up two or three picks, if needed.
The Spurs also have attractive expiring deals (Jakob Poeltl and Josh Richardson) they can dangle to sweeten a deal. Don’t forget, the Spurs also own Chicago’s first rounder in 2025. The Spurs also have enough potential cap space to absorb a max deal in free agency or via trade. Lots of options! Phase two of the Spurs rebuild takes shape in the next five weeks. GM Brian Wright… you’re on the clock! I have faith in you… and faith that the 9th pick is due for a winner!