Instant Reaction: Spurs Swing for the Fences by Picking Blake Wesley at 25

Prior to the draft, I identified Blake Wesley as one of the five boom-or-bust prospects the San Antonio Spurs could select if they wanted to take a gamble on a player with an All-Star upside. After going with defensive versatility by picking Jeremy Sochan and highly-trained offensive efficiency by picking Malaki Branham, the Spurs went for a home run at 25 by selecting Wesley, a 6-foot-4 freshman out of Notre Dame.

The aspect of Wesley’s game that jumps off the screen is his ability to create separation in one-on-one situations in halfcourt sets. That’s just not something you see very often. When a prospect has that talent, they usually are selected near the top of the draft. With quick, powerful movements and uncommon flexibility, Wesley is able to flummox defenders — even if they’re waiting on him to make a move.

Additionally, Wesley is surprisingly effective at making live dribble passes and hitting teammates on the move. His shooting stroke needs to become more consistent but he’s a willing shooter with a quick release off the catch and workable mechanics off the dribble. Wesley is a really good athlete who thrives in transition and finishes at the rim with imagination. At his peak, I think he could become a very disruptive offensive weapon who is a headache and a half to guard. 

Defensively, I think Wesley was better at Notre Dame than he was given credit for. He utilized his extraordinary burst to get into offensive players and interrupt passing lanes. If he keeps improving on that end, I think his ceiling is as a top tier defensive guard. 

Why was Wesley available at 25? He has a lot of work to do — on both ends. A lot of work. He’s truthfully not a reliably impactive basketball player at this point in time. At Notre Dame, he could be baited into driving with his head down into traffic over and over again. The effort was there but his wildness as a freshman made him a liability against top competition. Wesley tried to do so much on both sides of the court that it typically ended up backfiring. Furthermore, his shooting accuracy left a lot to be desired. 

Wesley finished his freshman season with averages of 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 40.4% from the field, 30.3% on three-pointers and 65.7% from the line. If he went back to school, he had a chance to move himself into the lottery — but opted for the 2022 NBA Draft instead.

All in all, I really like this pick. I would have liked it at 20 — so getting Wesley at 25 is a big win. I had him eighth on my list of players most likely to be drafted by the Spurs. After taking relatively safe picks in Sochan and Branham, Wesley’s sky-high ceiling was the perfect way for San Antonio to finish off their trio of first round picks.