Spurs Big Board 3.0 – Latest Intel and Possible Smokescreens

The 2024 NBA Draft takes place on Wednesday and figuring out who the San Antonio Spurs are targeting is more unclear than ever. Spurs sources have been more accessible than usual over the last couple of weeks but, ironically, their words are only adding to the lack of clarity.

-The Spurs held a workout with Stephon Castle and Devin Carter. Sources who witnessed the workout say Carter was highly impressive and that his athleticism was off the charts. However, the same sources refuse to comment on how Castle performed during the workout. Did Castle underwhelm or is San Antonio’s outward praise of Carter a possible smokescreen? I don’t know.

-Outside of Carter, the other player Spurs sources are raving about is Ja’Kobe Walter. Multiple sources say the Baylor product shot extremely well in his Spurs workout. I’ve also heard positive words about the workouts of Cody Williams and Rob Dillingham.

-The Spurs held a workout with Reed Sheppard but I’ve found it impossible to get a source to comment on how it went. Spurs sources are also mum about everything involving Zaccharie Risacher and, interestingly, Dalton Knecht.

-Tidjane Salaun had a workout with the Spurs and then all of his future workouts with other teams were cancelled. His representatives say Salaun suffered an ankle injury during his workout with San Antonio. That’s probably the truth — but you never know during smokescreen season.

-One highly-connected Spurs source I talked to raved about Donovan Clingan, calling him an “elite” prospect who the team would feeling comfortable drafting even without working him out. Smokescreen or would the Spurs actually pick the 7-foot-3 center at No. 4 if he’s still available? Again, I’m not sure.

  1. Zaccharie Risacher

I still think Risacher is the top player on the Spurs Big Board. Predictive analytics models grade Risacher as a second round pick and his athletic combine testing was shockingly poor — but I still think San Antonio would pick him over all the other prospects. He will probably be a good three-point shooter and a 6-foot-10-in-shoes defender who can thrive on the perimeter. In this draft, that’s enough to earn him the top spot.

  1. Alex Sarr

Sarr dropping to No. 4 is extremely unlikely. But if it happens, I think the Spurs pick him over any player but Risacher. The defensive potential of Victor Wembanyama and Sarr would be too much to overlook.

  1. Stephon Castle

It’s strange that Spurs sources are only talking about Carter after Castle and Carter worked out together — but I’m going to stick with Castle in the top three. He’d be a great fit defensively and he also brings passing, driving strength and basketball IQ to the table. If Castle can learn to shoot (that’s admittedly a big if), he’s going to be a really valuable player.

  1. Reed Sheppard

While selecting a 6-foot-3-in-shoes shooting guard near the top of a draft is always going to be a questionable move, Sheppard is a special case. His shooting potential puts him in a class of his own. His passing and playmaking history suggests that he could eventually become a point guard. Defensively, his rates of steals and blocks paint Sheppard as a player who won’t be a pushover on that end.

At the end of the day, I still think the Spurs will pick either Risacher, Sheppard or Castle at No. 4.

  1. Cody Williams

In the initial Spurs Big Board, I had Williams at the fourth spot. In this edition, he’s back in the top five. Williams is a tall, long wing with very good touch and functional length. He’s raw on both ends of the court and needs to add weight but he’s the type of high-character-with-length-and-upside player the Spurs have historically targeted in drafts.

  1. Tidjane Salaun

I started this draft cycle with Salaun eighth overall and he continues to steadily climb. In discussions with a scout who has done work for the Spurs, he told me that the most notable combine measurement of them all this year was Salaun’s enormous 9-foot-2 standing reach. Add in his rate of improvement, his three-point shooting and his effort level and the scout believes that Salaun’s floor isn’t as low as others perceive.

  1. Matas Buzelis

I’m struggling to find evidence that the Spurs are even looking at Buzelis. On paper, though, a potential wing with a plethora of tools has to be in the mix, right?

  1. Devin Carter

This is about as high as I can rank a 22-year-old combo guard who in shoes is only 6-foot-3.5. Carter is a monster defender, a talented rebounder and rapidly improving three-point shooter who would be ready to come in and play in an NBA game tomorrow. If the Spurs are ready to flip to a win-now mode (or at least a win-soon mode), Carter makes sense.

  1. Dalton Knecht

Another win-now prospect, Knecht is a 23-year-old hired gun who should be able to put points on the board at a high level. He’s a really good movement shooter and even has some playmaking upside. Knecht’s athleticism at the combine really jumped out as special for someone his size, which gives hope that he can learn to play defense in the NBA.

  1. Robert Dillingham

Dillingham’s slide continues. After watching the Boston Celtics hunt down and punish bad defenders on their way to a championship, it’d be difficult to justify taking Dillingham in the top ten. He’s not only undersized, his fundamentals are lacking. His effort level on D improved as the season progressed for Kentucky but Dillingham still projects to be a bottom tier defender — and probably stay there for the duration of his career. That said, his offensive ceiling is so high that the Spurs could pick him simply due to how well he’d fit next to Wembanyama.

  1. Donovan Clingan

Drafting Clingan to backup Wembanyama doesn’t sound like the best use of a lottery pick. But if he’s the top player on their board when it comes time to make a pick, I’d understand. Escaping this draft with two quality players would be a win — regardless of position.

  1. Ron Holland

Holland’s combination of effort, athleticism and fearlessness makes him an intriguing prospect. However, finding a scout who believes he’ll be picked in the top ten is becoming more and more difficult.

  1. Nikola Topic

The Spurs picking Topic at No. 8 is still within the realm of possibilities.

  1. Ja’Kobe Walter

Even if the Spurs love Walter, could he actually enter the discussions at No. 8? That’d be a tough sell for a 6-foot-5 guard without high-end athleticism. Then again, Joshua Primo.

  1. Jared McCain

McCain is a top three shooter in this draft and scouts say his work ethic is excellent.

  1. Bub Carrington

In the pre-Wemby days, I’d rank Carrington higher on a Spurs Big Board due to his high skill level at his young age. But, now, he’s likely too much of a project to even consider in the lottery.

  1. Pacome Dadiet

Dadiet is tall, has a high standing reach and he can shoot. The Frenchman doesn’t have much depth to his skillset but what he has could be enough to get the Spurs to look his way outside of the lottery.

  1. Johnny Furphy

Like Dadiet, Furphy is tall and can shoot. His length isn’t as impressive but he’s a really good finisher and the Australian limits his mistakes.

  1. Jaylon Tyson

Tyson is 21-year-old wing with a multitude of talents. The native of Texas lacks height, length and athleticism but a team can never have enough talented wings.

  1. Kyshawn George

George is another tall wing who can shoot. That native of Switzerland is very raw but he fits the mold of a modern player.

  1. Tyler Kolek

If the Spurs want a true point guard outside of the lottery, Kolek is the top choice.

  1. Baylor Scheierman

Think of Scheierman as a better, more well-rounded version of Joe Wieskamp. That comparison includes both players performing well during scrimmages at the combine.

  1. Isaiah Collier

Collier has tumbled out of the lottery but the Spurs could still bank on the fact that the burly USC point guard was the top prospect in all the land entering this season.

  1. Tyler Smith

While Smith’s defense is a legit question mark, he’s another player in this draft who is tall, long and can shoot.

  1. Yves Missi

Missi is a shot-blocking center with enough untapped potential to captivate.

  1. Bobi Klintman

Klintman is a tall, multi-talented wing who can do a little bit of a lot of things.

  1. Tristan Da Silva

Da Silva is a win-now wing with a high floor who should be ready to help a contender.

  1. Kyle Filipowski

I don’t see the fit next to Wembanyama but Filipowski is a skilled big who has some mobility upside.

  1. Cameron Christie

Christie is a shooting prospect who might be athletic enough to survive.

  1. Zach Edey

Edey was the best player in college basketball but the fit with Wembanyama would be really clunky. A couple 7-foot-5 players on the court at the same time wouldn’t really work. The memes would be fun, though.