The San Antonio Spurs were in the midst of their most disappointing season in more than two decades before play was abruptly suspended. It’s unclear when or if play will resume, though nothing will change the importance of the 2020 draft for the Spurs.
The Spurs are currently projected to have the 11th and 41st picks in the draft, with about a nine percent chance of landing a selection in the top four. With a rebuild looming, the Spurs can’t afford to miss out on their first lottery pick since 1997.
The front office has made a number of key mistakes in recent years, which culminated in a roster that was on pace to win just 35 games. Fortunately, the front office has continued to draft very well.
Looking at their own missteps can have a positive impact in their decision-making process in regards to this years draft pick. Most prevalent, the lack of two-way players on the roster was painfully evident this season, resulting in a number of bizarre lineups.
The Spurs can begin to rectify their ill-fitting roster by looking to draft players who can have an impact on both sides of the ball. Offensively, San Antonio needs players who can shoot accurately from distance. Adding more non-shooters to the roster, particularly out on the perimeter, would only further exacerbate the current issues.
Defensive potential should also be strongly weighed. Picking a player who’s already a solid defender — or has the physical tools to become one down the road — is key.
San Antonio Spurs Draft Preview: Team Needs
This particular draft isn’t highly regarded, which will make it even more difficult to find star talent. Despite that fact, there are some potential prospects who could fill specific team needs for San Antonio.
The Spurs could certainly use an infusion of young talent into the frontcourt, particularly at power forward. DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay will be free agents after next season — at the latest. Drafting a replacement now can help transition San Antonio into a new era.
Three prospects could be potential targets should their pick land in the top four: Deni Avdija, James Wiseman and Obi Toppin.
Avidja is a versatile and skilled 6-foot-9 point-forward that could thrive with the Spurs. Wiseman, an athletic 7-foot-1 center, could develop into a dominant rim protector, rebounder and lob threat in San Antonio. Toppin would provide the Spurs with a bruising and athletic big man with three-point range. All three of these players could make an impact on the team and perhaps develop into stars.
Outside of the top five, however, there appears to be decline in regards to high-upside frontcourt players available. However, there are still a few players who may draw the Spurs interest. Players such as Isaac Okoro, Devin Vassell and Aleksej Pokusevski each fill needs for San Antonio.
Okoro, a 6-foot-6 wing, is sure to emerge as one of the draft’s best defenders. Devin Vassell, a 6-foot-6 three-and-D wing, would fit nicely with Spurs. Pokusevski, an 18-year-old 7-foot power forward, could become a good three-point shooter and rim protector.
Reasons for Optimism?
The Spurs front office has a been known to scout players many years before they are even draft eligible. With March Madness cancelled, obscure players who might’ve risen up draft boards in normal seasons may still be available when the Spurs make their selections.
The combination of unprecedented circumstances and their advanced scouting could give San Antonio a clear advantage in the draft process. They may not draft their next star player but fans should be hopeful that the Spurs will be able to find a key piece for the future.