To say that the 2020 NBA Draft is packed to the gills with point guards would be an understatement. According to the Big Boards for ESPN and The Athletic, five of the top 11 prospects are point guards. Of the top 41 prospects in the draft, ESPN has 16 point guards and the Athletic has 17 point guards. This appears to be bad news for the San Antonio Spurs, as the one position where they appear to have youthful depth is point guard due to the presence of Dejounty Murray and Derrick White.
Add in Patty Mills, who is due more than $13 million in the final year of his contract for the 2021-22 season, and could the Spurs really justify adding another point guard to the mix?
I believe that they can. If the best player on their board is a point guard, I don’t think the Spurs should hesitate to draft that player.
The Future with Dejounte Murray and Derrick White
I’ve been relatively pleased with how Murray and White have played this season. Murray has flashed star potential at times, although he has also admittedly appeared to be a square peg being forced into a round hole at times. White may not have taken a big leap forward in his third season in the NBA, but he also hasn’t regressed following his breakout sophomore season. At worst, White appears to be a very valuable backup going forward.
Even though I think both Murray and White have bright futures, neither player is a sure thing. In fact, it’s not yet clear that either player is a long-term point guard. Murray’s passing and instincts are inconsistent at best, while White might not have the physical tools or the mental makeup to consistently command a team from the point guard position.
As for Mills, this season should cement what was obvious all along: He’s a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. Even if you believe he’ll stick around the franchise for a few more years, that shouldn’t change any thought processes when it comes to the draft.
The Case for the Spurs Drafting the Best Player Available
Back when the Spurs were legitimate championship contenders each and every season, it made sense to factor in positional needs during the draft and when looking for undervalued gems in free agency. But these days, the front office needs to shift into amassing the most talent possible.
Even in a scenario where Murray or White is able to grow into the franchise’s unquestioned point guard, having a young point guard in the pipeline that could be used as trade bait is far from a bad thing. While traditional centers have lost their value, point guards are as valuable as ever.
A more likely scenario is the Spurs will have point guard minutes available within the next couple years. White will be a free agent next summer if the Spurs don’t sign him to an extension this offseason. And with how much the Spurs invested in Murray, San Antonio may hesitate to match a large offer another team puts on the table for White.
Additionally, since both Murray and White can defend multiple positions, a playmaking point guard could fit even if Murray and White both stick around. Beyond DeMar DeRozan, the Spurs don’t have many playmakers on this roster. Adding a playmaker in the draft in the form of a point guard could help down the line, even if the immediate fit looks questionable.