When the lottery balls stopped bouncing, the San Antonio Spurs ended up with the ninth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Heading into the lottery, there was about a 50% chance that the Spurs would pick ninth — so this outcome is far from a surprise.
While San Antonio’s dreams of landing one of the top four players in this draft are now history, there should still be plenty of talent on the board when it comes time for the Spurs to make a selection in the lottery. In addition to being slotted at nine, the Spurs also have the 20th, 25th and 38th picks.
Let’s take a first look at how the 2022 NBA Draft could shake out for Silver and Black.
1. Orlando Magic – Chet Holmgren
I think the right move here for the Magic is taking Holmgren. He has a high ceiling and fits the roster reasonably well.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jabari Smith
The Thunder have playmakers and passers. They need a finisher. Smith and his elite shooting are an obvious fit if he doesn’t go No. 1.
3. Houston Rockets – Paolo Banchero
Banchero to Houston already looks like a lock. The Rockets don’t have a true point guard, so he can step right in and be a go-to playmaking option.
4. Sacramento Kings – Shaedon Sharpe
I don’t like the fit of Jaden Ivey in Sacramento. Keegan Murray would be a bad pick — but these are the Kings, after all, so maybe he goes here. That said, I think they roll the dice on Sharpe.
5. Detroit Pistons – Jaden Ivey
This is the dream scenario for the Pistons. Ivey is a great fit. If Ivey is off the board, this selection would be a lot more difficult.
6. Indiana Pacers – Keegan Murray
I think Sharpe makes sense here but if he’s off the board, this is a landing spot for Murray. If he pans out, Indiana can bounce right back to playoff contention.
7. Portland Trail Blazers – Dyson Daniels
I like the fit of Daniels next to Damian Lillard. Daniels will be a very good defender and will take pressure off of Lillard on that end. On the other end, Daniels’ passing ability would be valuable.
8. New Orleans Pelicans – AJ Griffin
With Zion Williamson back in the equation, the Pelicans need as many shooters as possible. Griffin has an argument for being the best shooter in the draft this side of Jabari Smith.
9. San Antonio Spurs – Bennedict Mathurin
The Spurs may be tempted to add talented size in Jalen Duren or Jeremy Sochan but, at the end of the day, I think it’d be too difficult to pass on Mathurin. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Mathurin is a very good athlete who is also a proven three-point shooter. The 19-year-old out of Arizona has a chance of developing into a high volume scorer. Mathurin’s defensive focus comes and goes but he has potential on that end. He’s not a finished product but I see him starting early in his Spurs career.
I’ve had Mathurin fifth on the Spurs Big Board since the beginning, largely due to talk behind the scenes that the Spurs have long been interested in him.
10. Washington Wizards – TyTy Washington
Washington gives the Wizards a ball-handler and passer.
11. New York Knicks – Johnny Davis
Head coach Tom Thibodeau loves tough players and they don’t come much tougher than Davis.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ousmane Dieng
Sam Presti swings for the fences with another project with hypothetical star potential.
13. Charlotte Hornets – Jalen Duren
This would be a no-brainer pick for the Hornets. Teaming the athletic freak of nature that is Duren and LaMelo Ball would be an exciting development for the basketball world.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers – Malaki Branham
Branham is an Ohio native who’d give the Cavs a talented scoring option.
15. Charlotte Hornets – Ochai Agbaji
Agbaji is a very Jorden-esque pick. He likes drafting well-known college players and Agbaji is coming off of a national championship at Kansas.
16. Atlanta Hawks – Jeremy Sochan
This would be a slide for Sochan. If he’s here, I can’t imagine the Hawks pass on him.
17. Houston Rockets – Patrick Baldwin Jr.
The Rockets could use a high ceiling shooter like Baldwin. I expect Baldwin’s stock to climb as teams go back and watch his pre-college tape.
18. Chicago Bulls – Tari Eason
The Bulls desperately need defense and intensity and that’s what Eason brings to the table.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves – Kendall Brown
Brown would make the Timberwolves more athletic and give them a player who looks best suited to thrive next to star talent.
20. San Antonio Spurs – Mark Williams
I was recently told by a Western Conference scout that a few rival teams believe that Mark Williams would be the pick at nine if the Spurs go with a big — even over other bigs like Duren, Sochan and Eason. And that’s not the first time I heard something along those lines. Williams scores extremely high with regard to his character, comes from a strong family (his dad is a gastroenterologist, his sister is in the WNBA) and plays a focused brand of basketball. I think Williams at nine is a bit of a stretch (he was 22 on my latest Spurs Big Board) but he’d be a fine pick at 20.
Williams is a 7-foot center out of Duke with a reported 7-foot-7 wingspan. He’s not a shooter or passer but he’s an elite finisher at the rim. He has great hands and dunks everything (he led the nation in dunks, in fact). On defense, he’s already a very good room protector and rebounder. It’s questionable if he can defend out on the perimeter, though.
If the Spurs get Mathurin at nine and Williams is still on the board at 20, I think he’s the pick. With Jakob Poeltl becoming a free agent after the season, drafting Williams would give the Spurs options — including trading Poeltl once the Spurs are sure Williams will pan out.
21. Denver Nuggets – Jaden Hardy
The Nuggets could use as much non-Nikola Jokic playmaking as possible and Hardy is a potential playmaker.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – Blake Wesley
Wesley is a slippery athlete that could make for a scary duo next to Ja Morant if he reaches his peak.
23. Brooklyn Nets – E.J. Liddell
The Nets want to win now. Liddell is a win-now pick.
24. Milwaukee Bucks – Christian Braun
The Bucks need shooters who show up in big games. Braun could be that guy.
25. San Antonio Spurs – Jalen Williams
Another Williams for the Spurs — this time Jalen Williams out of Santa Clara. With Mathurin, the Spurs get a scoring guard. With Mark Williams, the Spurs get a possible center of the future. With Jalen Williams, the Spurs roll the dice and hope that they’ve discovered a playmaking wing.
Williams is 6-foot-6 with a seven-foot wingspan. He’s not a quick twitch-athlete and struggles to explode in traffic, which are flaws that could potentially dampen his draft stock. That said, he’s a very good passer who is excellent at reading angles and running pick-and-rolls. Williams can also shoot it straight, as he averaged 18.0 points on 51.3% shooting from the field, 39.6% shooting from three-point range and 80.9% shooting from the line.
While he’s already 21 years old, Williams is a definite late bloomer. He was only 6-foot-3 when he enrolled at Santa Clara and was expected to play point guard. His late growth spurt has transformed him into a player who just might be the exact type of playmaking wing the Spurs really need. There’s a definite chance that he ends up not being athletic enough for the NBA — but I’d like this gamble, especially after picking relatively sure-things in Mathurin and the other Williams.
26. Dallas Mavericks – Kennedy Chandler
The Mavs add point guard depth in case Jalen Brunson leaves in free agency.
27. Miami Heat – Bryce McGowens
McGowens is skinny but he’s tough and gets to the free throw line a ton.
28. Golden State Warriors – MarJon Beauchamp
Beauchamp is a readymade role player who could earn minutes early in his career.
29. Memphis Grizzlies – Leonard Miller
The Grizzlies have such a deep roster that they could take a gamble with Miller, who is probably two years away from being two years away.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder – Nikola Jovic
Another intriguing overseas prospect for the Thunder? Why not?
31. Indiana Pacers – Trevor Keels
The Pacers could use a backcourt defender.
32. Orlando Magic – Max Christie
Christie is a shooter who should be able to raise his stock before the draft.
33. Toronto Raptors – Dalen Terry
Terry is a long, lean defender with burgeoning offensive skills.
34. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jake LaRavia
LaRavia is the type of player who could help young stars develop by doing all the dirty work.
35. Orlando Magic – Peyton Watson
The Magic get another long-armed prospect who could be a devastating defender if he learns how to play the game.
36. Portland Trail Blazers – Walker Kessler
The Blazers need centers. Kessler is a fantastic shot-blocker.
37. Sacramento Kings – Caleb Houstan
Houstan was bad at Michigan but he was a really impressive prospect previously.
38. San Antonio Spurs – Gabriele Procida
If Procida is willing to stay in Europe for a year or two, I’d love this pick at 38. He’s an aggressive 6-foot-7 athlete who can run, jump and shoot. The 19-year-old is still raw when it comes to handling the ball and making the right passes — but he has tools.
The Spurs aren’t going to enter next season with four rookies so an old fashioned draft-and-stash makes sense if the Spurs end up using all three of their first round picks. If the Spurs don’t draft a center in the first round, another potential draft-and-stash option is Ismael Kamagate, a 6-foot-11 center from France who is athletic and strong but is still learning how to play.