Picking 9th, 20th, 25th, and 38th on June 23rd, the Silver and Black have ample opportunity to improve their roster before free agency begins on July 1st.
Aside from needing a steadfast go-to scorer, San Antonio’s most glaring hole on their roster is a lack of talent at both forward positions. Their top priority should be adding offensive and defensive versatility, in addition to size at the three and four with players who have more modern skillsets.
Luckily for the Spurs, the talent in the 2022 NBA Draft is filled with high floor options at their positions of need. The prospects will be there, and they have the picks to collect multiple valuable assets, so there’s no doubt San Antonio can walk away as “winners” of the draft when all is said and done.
Round 1, Pick #9:
- Jeremy SochanForward, Baylor: The ninth overall pick for the Spurs should be between guys like Bennedict Mathurin, Tari Eason, and Jeremy Sochan. The guy with the highest upside out of these three, who also plays a position of need, is Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan. Sochan is one of the best defensive prospects in this class, with genuine defensive versatility, strong footwork, and the switchability to adequately defend the 1-5 spots. Offensively, his passing ability is what shines brightest. With a solid handle and strong court vision to kick out on his drives, he flashes secondary playmaking ability at the four that the Spurs could desperately use. There are some flaws in Sochan’s game, specifically with his jump shot. And as much of a “cop-out” as this tends to be, let’s face the facts: Pairing one of the youngest prospects in this class with shooting coach Chip Engelland could help him develop into a serviceable shooter. San Antonio is one of the best fits for Sochan as he provides two-way upside while giving the Spurs a safety net with a relatively high floor as a rotational piece.
Round 1, Pick 20:
- Blake Wesley, Notre-Dame: While Sochan should carve out a role with the Spurs immediately, Wesley will probably take his lumps in the G-League like Josh Primo. Wesley may not be the most consistent shooter or finisher at this stage, but don’t let the raw percentages lead you in the wrong direction. Wesley is a natural bucket getter, and he flashed to encourage volume scoring at the collegiate level. At 6’4” with a 6’9” wingspan, the 19-year-old possesses exceptional athleticism and ball-handling ability to attack defenses and get to the rim with ease. Defensively, his motor was infectious for the Fighting Irish on that end of the floor, and he’s another chess piece that a struggling Spurs defense could use. Don’t get me wrong: Wesley is undoubtedly a project, but one that teams could view as one of the top players from this class in a few short years.
Round 1, Pick 25:
Christian KolokoCenter, Arizona: Contrary to what some believe, the Spurs don’t have the center spot set in stone. Jakob Poeltl is a free agents after this season, and the combination of Zach Collins and Jock Landale has a way to go before solidifying themselves in the rotation. Christian Koloko would immediately become San Antonio’s best athlete at the five and provide a lob target out of the pick-and-roll that could benefit Dejounte Murray and Tre Jones. Koloko may have picked up the game later in life, but he has improved every aspect of his game since he picked up a basketball at age 15. His frame, touch around the rim, and free-throw shooting suggests the best has yet to come from the Cameroonian center. Oh, and that monologue I just went on touched on everything but his best attribute, rim protection. The 7’1” big man is an excellent weakside rim protector and can more than hold his own in drop coverage. There is a lot to like when it comes to Christian Koloko, and he would be a fantastic selection late in the first round.
Round 2, Pick 38:
- Jake LaRaviaForward, Wake Forest: With a True Shooting Percentage of nearly 65% at Wake Forest last season, Jake LaRavia is one of the highest floor prospects in this class. A bonafide role player and immediate contributor from day one, LaRavia has a fascinating blend of size, shooting, playmaking, and defensive versatility that will benefit the Spurs from the moment he enters the gym. LaRavia is an older prospect, and he played like one for the Demon Deacons. He is your typical jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none kind of prospect, but San Antonio would be fooling themselves if they think LaRavia isn’t great value in the early stages of the second round. There are clear limitations: he isn’t a great athlete, doesn’t have a shifty handle, and lacks off the bounce scoring upside, but he’s learned to maximize his impact on the game.
By selecting Sochan, Koloko, and LaRavia, the Spurs would get immediate help in the frontcourt from day one. Sochan and Koloko are two prospects that can carve out a role for themselves quickly, but they also have significant upside as prospects. LaRavia may not have as high of a ceiling, but his floor as an out-of-the-box contributor would be the chef’s kiss on a draft class that drastically improves the Spurs frontcourt.
As a promising off-the-dribble creator that could pay off in a big way with G League seasoning, Blake Wesley could be the swing factor for this class. Nonetheless, with a haul like this, the San Antonio Spurs would simultaneously conquer numerous flaws on their roster while aiming for upside on three of their four picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.