San Antonio Spurs Big Board 1.0 for the 2024 NBA Draft

The San Antonio Spurs will have at least one lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Depending on how the ping pong balls fall, the Spurs may receive a second lottery pick via the Toronto Raptors.

San Antonio’s own pick has a 42% chance of being in the top four selections. There’s also a 46% chance that the pick will be either No. 6 or No. 7 and it’s guaranteed to be no lower than No. 9.

The potential pick from the Raptors, which was acquired in the Jakob Poeltl trade, will go to the Spurs if Toronto lands the seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth pick in the draft. The Raptors will keep the selection if it turns out to be a top six pick. San Antonio has a 54% chance of the pick conveying this season. If it doesn’t, the Spurs also own the Raptors top six protected first round pick next season. 

The 2024 draft is regarded as weak, particularly on the top. The scouts I’ve talked to unanimously agree with that sentiment. There is no clear cut Victor Wembanyama-like No. 1 prospect this season. In fact, if the Spurs get the top pick for the second straight season, at least the top seven players listed on this Big Board would be in the running to get selected first overall. 

1. Robert Dillingham

Why pick him? Dillingham is the most talented scorer in the draft. On Day 1, he’ll already be one of the better ball-handlers in the NBA. He shot well during his lone season at Kentucky, including 44.4% from three-point range. Dillingham is a capable scorer on the ball or off the ball.

Reasons to hesitate: Listed at 6-foot-3 and 176 pounds, Dillingham has a slight frame. How he’ll survive on the defensive end is an open question. He’s small, lacks fundamentals and doesn’t appear to have especially quick feet. Offensively, Dillingham isn’t a notable playmaker or passer for someone who has to play point guard as a pro.

Overall thoughts: Dillingham’s camp is telling anyone who will listen that his preferred landing spot is in San Antonio. Multiple scouts have told me it’d be surprising if the Spurs pass on Dillingham due his seamless fit next to Victor Wembanyama. “If [Dillingham] is on the board, I’m convinced the Spurs pick him — even with the first pick,” a scout for a Western Conference team told me. 

2. Zaccharie Risacher

Why pick him? At somewhere around 6-foot-10, Risacher has very good positional size for a defensive wing. He has already proven himself to be a strong role player in the French league as an 18-year-old and the Frenchman should have a clean transition into a similar role in the NBA. Risacher began the season on fire from three-point range and has routinely defended point guards through power forwards in France.

Reasons to hesitate: Risacher has been undscoerwhelming in the second half of his campaign. His shooting has dried up and he has struggled to produce. Offensively, it takes a lot of imagination to envision him as anything more than a third or fourth scorer. If his shooting touch doesn’t return, his future as a starter in the NBA would be in doubt.

Overall thoughts: International scouts tell me that the Spurs have spent a lot of time following Risacher. He has the type of frame, youth and two-way potential that would justify a lottery pick — but he comes with a very real risk that he doesn’t become more than a role player at the next level. 

3. Reed Sheppard

Why pick him? An analytics darling, Sheppard put up jaw-dropping numbers in multiple categories. His steal rate was through the roof, he blocked a lot of shots and hit more than half of his three-point attempts. He was amazingly efficient on offense and had the defensive numbers of a top-tier disruptor. Down the line, he has a chance to be a plus playmaker.

Reasons to hesitate: Sheppard is only around 6-foot-3 and not particularly strong. While his defensive numbers were awesome, his actual play on the defensive end was iffy. In one-on-one matchups, he struggled more often than not. Offensively, is he a point guard? If he isn’t, Sheppard wouldn’t bring much value to the table as an undersized shooting guard. It should also be noted that the freshman guard out of Kentucky had an unsightly end to his season. 

Overall thoughts: On paper, Sheppard makes a lot of sense for the Spurs. A great shooter who might develop into a starting point guard? A defensive playmaker? That sounds good. But if he can’t play PG or he becomes too much of a defensive liability, Bryn Forbes Redux doesn’t sound too appealing.

4. Cody Williams

Why pick him? Williams is 6-foot-8 with long arms. A perimeter player, he has exhibited wow-worthy flashes as a ball-handler, playmaker and scorer. Williams has the tools to be an above average defender. He’s similar to Devin Vassell as a prospect in that if you trust his development curve, he’s a very intriguing player. 

Reasons to hesitate: After returning from injury, his freshman season at Colorado ended with a whimper. During March Madness, Williams didn’t look like a lottery pick. His low volume of three-point attempts and his pedestrian free throw percentage make it questionable whether he’ll be a shooter in the NBA. His hesitant body language also clouds his defensive projections.

Overall thoughts: Even if he’s picked near the top of the draft, Williams clearly needs some time in the G League. He’s extremely raw and lacks confidence. But if the Spurs buy his feel for the game and his work ethic, he’d be a worthwhile lottery pick in this draft. 

5. Stephon Castle

Why pick him? Fresh off of a national championship at UConn, Castle looks like a very good defensive prospect. He’s a powerful 6-foot-6 athlete who can defend, dribble and pass. Castle is no stranger to playing a smart, winning brand of basketball. 

Reasons to hesitate: He has a chance to become a point guard in the NBA but it’s a longshot. Shooting-wise, there are a few major question marks. His form isn’t good, he rarely shoots when a defender is near and he hit only 26.7% from deep at UConn.

Overall thoughts: Castle looks like a valuable role player in the making. Can the Spurs afford another non-shooter, though? Picking him would mean San Antonio trusts their ability to fix his shot. 

6. Nikola Topic

Why pick him? A 6-foot-6 point guard from Serbia, Topic has the best court vision and is likely the best passer in the draft. He’s a talented finisher at the rim, shoots really well from the free throw line and plays at a mature pace even though he’s only 18 years old. 

Reasons to hesitate: Topic doesn’t have a history of being a three-point shooter. A below the rim finisher, athleticism won’t be a strength at the NBA level. His defense has been nothing special while playing in Europe — and that’s putting it gently.

Overall thoughts: Scouts based in Europe tell me that the Spurs haven’t been in attendance for very many of Topic’s games. In theory, though, getting a talented passer next to Wembanyama would be an excellent idea. Topic’s lack of three-point shooting success is a cause for concern, however. 

7. Alexandre Sarr

Why pick him? A seven-footer out of France who spent the year playing in Australia, Sarr might be the safest pick in the draft. He’s tall, athletic and should become a beast on the defensive end. Offensively, he’s a live body with a reasonable amount of touch. It’s possible he could develop into a forward at some point in the future. 

Reasons to hesitate: At least early on, Sarr looks like he’ll be a center. Defensively, he could form a fearsome duo with Wembanyama. Offensively, the fit is clunky at best.

Overall thoughts: Even though the fit would be less than ideal, there’d come a point in the draft that Sarr would be too valuable as an asset to pass up. 

8. Tidjane Salaun

Why pick him? This Parisian is the third Frenchman in the top eight. Salaun is the rawest of the three but his physical tools are difficult to ignore. He’s 6-foot-9 with a big frame and more than his share of natural athleticism. When he gets moving, he’s difficult to stop. Salaun also has had his moments as a three-point shooter. 

Reasons to hesitate: Salaun is basically all tools at this point. He’s not an especially good basketball player yet. He also has alarmingly immature footwork on both ends of the court. 

Overall thoughts: Outside of Risacher, international scouts have pointed at Salaun as a player the Spurs have kept close tabs on during this draft cycle. Picking him in the top ten might be a stretch — but maybe not in the weak 2024 draft. 

9. Matas Buzelis

Why pick him? A 6-foot-10 small forward, Buzelis has an interesting array of skills. He’s a coordinated athlete who can handle the ball and he plays with a healthy amount of court sense. Defensively, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and he blocked shots at an impressive clip while playing for the G League Ignite.

Reasons to hesitate: Buzelis shot 26.1% from three-point range and sub-70% at the free throw line. While he’s coordinated, he’s not an explosive athlete. At this stage, he’s also not much of a playmaker. Defensively, his perimeter defense looks questionable at times.

Overall thoughts: Buzelis is another upside gamble. He’ll be 20 years old by the start of the regular season so he’s not as young as some of the aforementioned prospects. 

10. Dalton Knecht

Why pick him? As a senior at Tennessee, Knecht was the most impressive wing scorer in college basketball. His competitiveness was off the charts, even against the toughest of competition. He hit nearly 40% of his three-pointers even though he rarely got open looks. While he’s mostly thought of as a shooter, Knecht is also athletic and has a sturdy 6-foot-6 frame. 

Reasons to hesitate: He’s 23 years old. Knecht’s dominant season at Tennessee came as a fifth year senior. And while he put a lot of points on the board, he wasn’t an especially efficient scorer.

Overall thoughts: A scoring wing who can be counted on to hit three-pointers sounds like a snug fit in San Antonio. But does the 23-year-old have enough upside to justify as a top seven or eight pick? 

11. Donovan Clingan

Why pick him? Clingan looks fully capable of being a better version of Jakob Poeltl. He’s huge, has very good defensive instincts, he can pass the ball and understands the game at a high level. Clingan is efficient in all aspects of the game and there’s a strong chance that he can be a plug-and-play starting center in the league. 

Reasons to hesitate: He shot 58.3% at the free throw line and it’s unlikely that he’ll ever become a perimeter shooter. While he can pass, Clingan will need shooting around him to space the court.

Overall thoughts: Clingan makes sense for a lot of teams but he isn’t a logical choice for the Spurs. He’s not the type of player you’d want to put next to Wembanyama long-term. Then again, he looks like a surefire NBA player so that attribute holds quite a bit of value in this draft. 

12. Isaiah Collier

Why pick him? Entering this season, Collier was the highest rated point guard. He’s extremely strong for his age and drives to the hoop with physicality. He gets to the free throw line a lot and there are glimpses of elite playmaking skills. 

Reasons to hesitate: Collier had a season to forget as a freshman at USC. His team wasn’t good, he turned the ball over a ton, he didn’t shoot it straight and his feel for the game was questionable. While strength helped him in high school and even in college, what will happen when goes against grown men in the NBA?

Overall thoughts: He doesn’t seem like the kind of player the Spurs would want to pair with Wembanyama. But if San Antonio is really targeting a point guard, Collier has to be somewhere on their list.

13. Ron Holland

Why pick him? Holland had a disappointing campaign with the G League Ignite but prior to that he was a very highly rated prospect. He’s an athletic 6-foot-8 wing who can put points on the board in a hurry. In the right environment, there’s a non-zero chance that he becomes the best player from this draft. 

Reasons to hesitate: Holland shot 23.9% from three-point range, 68.2% from the line and had more turnovers than assists. Fitting him in a team-centric role looks like it’ll be a challenge. He didn’t appear to be interested in doing the little things needed to win games. 

Overall thoughts: Like Collier, Holland wouldn’t be a typical Spurs-like pick. However, there’s no question that he has lottery level athleticism and plenty of untapped potential. If the front office disregards his play on his dysfunctional G League team, it’s possible that Holland becomes an option. 

14. Jared McCain

Why pick him? The Spurs need shooters and McCain is one of the top two or three shooters in the draft. He has range, can shoot in a variety of environments and hit 88.5% of his free throws. He’s also a low mistake player with enough athleticism to survive.

Reasons to hesitate: McCain is only 6-foot-3. Defense will likely be an issue. He also doesn’t project to be a point guard or even a secondary playmaker. 

Overall thoughts: The Spurs need shooters but a more well-rounded shooter would be optimal. That said, McCain is young, doesn’t have glaring flaws and can be trusted to shoot at a high level. Those traits will surely grab San Antonio’s attention.