With Dejounte Murray trade rumors swirling, let’s not forget that today is also the 2022 NBA Draft in which the San Antonio Spurs are equipped with four draft picks — including three in the first round. With selections at 9, 20, 25 and 38, the Spurs are sure to be in the middle of the action. In fact, San Antonio making a trade in the draft is very possible.
In the final iteration of the Spurs Big Board for this draft cycle, here’s the order of how I believe the Spurs are valuing the available draft prospects.
1. Paolo Banchero
2. Chet Holmgren
3. Jabari Smith
4. Jaden Ivey
The top four prospects remain in the same order. Members of the national media have speculated that the Spurs may trade for the fourth pick in order to draft Keegan Murray. However, I’ve heard that if the Spurs do trade up to four, it would be to take one of these four players — most likely Jaden Ivey.
5. Bennedict Mathurin
Beyond that top tier, Mathurin is the prospect who’d make the most sense for the Spurs. He would immediately slide into Lonnie Walker IV’s role. Down the road, his excellent athleticism and precision shooting could allow him to blossom into a star-level player.
6. Keegan Murray
While the Spurs are unlikely to pick Murray at four, that doesn’t mean they don’t love him. An active offensive threat with range on his jumper, he’d be a fine fit next to Keldon Johnson at forward.
7. Jeremy Sochan
If you factor in fit, Sochan stands out from the rest of the remaining players on the board. His main position is power forward but can thrive defensively regardless of who he’s matched up against. That defensive versatility and his advanced feel on the offensive end will make a tempting prospect for San Antonio, especially if team fit enters the equation.
8. Johnny Davis
If Davis reaches his peak, he has a high ceiling as a primary scorer, tough defender and ceaseless competitor.
9. Jalen Williams
I’ve ranked Williams as the most likely player to be picked by the Spurs in the draft tonight. There’s a chance that San Antonio selects him at 9. If he’s on the board at 20 or 25, he seems like a no-brainer.
10. Dyson Daniels
Daniels has dipped a little bit due to concerns about the accuracy of his jumper. Scouts tell me he shot it poorly during a workout the Spurs attended. That said, if you take a step back and think about it, would the Spurs really pass on a guy whose likely outcome is a Derrick White/Kyle Anderson hybrid?
11. Ousmane Dieng
In the previous Spurs Big Board, I had lowered Dieng to 25 because, as I wrote, I had heard nothing about a connection between Dieng and the Spurs. Circumstances have changed. Two reliable sources have told me in recent days that teams believe they need to jump ahead of the Spurs in order to snag Dieng.
Is this a successful smokescreen by the Spurs or do they really want to draft Dieng? Time will tell, I guess.
12. Shaedon Sharpe
Sharpe is a potential volume scorer who hid from competition for much of the last year after becoming the top rated recruit of his high school class. While that might not sound like a player the Spurs would traditionally target, a team source tells me the front office decision makers were wowed by Sharpe’s athleticism when he came to San Antonio for a visit.
13. Jalen Duren
14. Mark Williams
These two centers have flipped back and forth on the Big Board. I’ll end it with Duren slightly in the lead. I don’t think the Spurs should draft a center in the lottery, but it’d probably be Duren if they do. Williams is taller, longer and is known for his impeccable intangibles on and off the court — so his candidacy shouldn’t be discounted.
15. Malaki Branham
I view Branham as the lowest prospect on the Big Board who could theoretically be chosen by the Spurs in the lottery. The sky-high scoring potential he illustrated at Ohio State is an attribute the Spurs could value at a lottery level.
16. Tari Eason
Eason has interviewed with the Spurs twice and had an extensive workout in San Antonio. He plays a wild, untamed brand of basketball — but his ungodly frame and his monstrous production at LSU could draw San Antonio’s eye.
17. TyTy Washington
With the news that the Spurs may trade Dejounte Murray, it suddenly makes a lot more sense regarding why the Spurs have spent so much time investigating Washington as a prospect. A combo guard who projects to be a point guard eventually, he’s a talented playmaker whose win-first mentality has caused many scouts to be enamored with him.
18. Blake Wesley
19. Dalen Terry
Whether you prefer Wesley or Terry depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a boom-or-bust prospect, go with Wesley. He has go-to scorer upside on offense and lockdown defensive potential — but he’s extraordinarily raw. Conversely, Terry isn’t someone who will dent the score sheet often but he already passes and defends at a high level. He’s a very safe bet to at least become a valuable role player in the NBA.
20. Gabriele Procida
Procida was interviewed by Manu Ginobili in Italian at the combine. The two talked about his contract status. He can shoot. He can run fast. He can jump high. If the Spurs draft Procida, he likely will stay in Europe for at least one season.
21. AJ Griffin
Griffin is arguably the best shooting prospect in the draft. However, he has injury concerns and the lack of mobility he exhibited at Duke is worrisome.
22. Max Christie
On the previous edition of the Spurs Big Board, Christie was the biggest riser. While he struggled as a freshman at Michigan State, he’s a shooting prospect with enough athleticism to survive defensively.
23. Ismael Kamagate
The biggest riser on this edition of the Big Board is Ismael Kamagate. An international scout has told me that he believes the Spurs are a likely candidate to pick Kamagate, a 6-foot-11 center, in the 20s. If he falls into the second round, the Frenchman could be who the Spurs select at 38.
Kamagate has a slender build but he’s long, he’s rugged and he’s light on his feet. When he dunks the ball, it looks like he’s playing on a mini hoop. Teams that have been asking around for draft-and-stash candidates have been told that Kamagate is indeed interested in such an arrangement.
24. MarJon Beauchamp
Another prospect the Spurs have kept a close eye on during the pre-draft process is Beauchamp. He’s an ultra athletic hustle player who may be hiding a deceptive amount of potential.
25. Kennedy Chandler
A six-foot point guard, picking Chandler obviously makes more sense now that Murray’s future with the Spurs isn’t as clear as it was 24 hours ago. Chandler is raw but he has good instincts on both ends of the court and analytics departments adore his potential.
26. Jaden Hardy
Down here in the depths of the draft, Hardy is probably the only player left with a real pathway to becoming an NBA team’s leading scorer. He’s extremely crafty with the ball and can shoot from downtown with ease. With Hardy, it’s a matter of learning to pick his spots and developing a willingness to exist within a team concept.
27. Josh Minott
Another analytics darling, Minott was a per-minute beast at Memphis. Can the athletic forward thrive once he’s given a bigger role? The Spurs may be willing to find out.
28. EJ Liddell
29. Ochai Agbaji
These two old, wily veterans (21 and 22 years old, respectively) are ready to help on Day 1. Liddell is a big who brings toughness, shooting and smarts. Agbaji is a wing who can run, jump and shoot.
30. Nikola Jovic
31. Bryce McGowens
Jovic is a skilled passer at 6-foot-11 with a rapidly improving jumper who might not be able to defend anyone. McGowens has a natural scoring prowess who gets to the line in bunches but passing is something he’s not very interested in doing.
32. Trevor Keels
33. Kendall Brown
Keels and Brown would be upside swings. Keels is 18 years old — and that was a big deal when the Spurs were drafting Joshua Primo. Besides being good at being young, Keels is a dedicated defender. Brown, who just turned 19, is one of the most explosive leapers in the draft but his confidence seems to perpetually reside on shaky ground.
34. Wendell Moore
35. Christian Braun
36. Christian Koloko
37. Jake LaRavia
These four prospects should be ready to rock as rookies. Moore is a guard with all-around skills. Braun has championship pedigree, plays with passion and is an impressive athlete — but the low release point on his jumper might be a red flag. Koloko is a developmental center who got a lot better during his three years at Arizona. LaRavia is a power forward with an expansive repertoire of talents but, at this point, is a master of none.
38. Caleb Houstan
39. Patrick Baldwin Jr
40. Ryan Rollins
These three prospects can shoot it. Houstan, who some believe received a promise from the Spurs, is a non-athlete but he’s smart. Baldwin is longer than a bad movie you didn’t want to watch in the first place and was an elite recruit once upon a time. Rollins is a young sophomore out of Toledo with scoring chops.
41. Peyton Watson
42. John Butler
If the Spurs want to take a gamble in the second round, Watson and Butler fit the bill. Watson barely played at UCLA but he’s built like someone who could become a star defensive wing. Butler is a 7-foot beanpole with an impossibly smooth shooting stroke.
43. Karlo Matkovic
44. Walker Kessler
45. Jaylin Williams
Matkovic is another draft-and-stash candidate who I’ve heard whispers about in recent days. The center is a powerful dunker much like Drew Eubanks. While he’s never been a three-point shooter, his perimeter jumper looks surprisingly competent.
Kessler is the best shot blocker in the draft but his feet are so slow that I can’t imagine that he’ll work in San Antonio’s defensive schemes. Williams draws charges and makes heady passes, so his uniqueness as a center prospect is notable.
46. Jean Montero
47. Andrew Nembhard
48. Alondes Williams
Three more point guards who suddenly are a lot more interesting are Montero, Nembhard and Williams. Montero is a speedster with deep range who is still learning how to play. Nembhard knows how to play but his limited burst gives him a ho-hum ceiling. Williams is a reincarnated gunslinger from the wild west. He has never met a play he doesn’t try to make. If he can rein it in a little bit, he may have an NBA career.
49. Dereon Seabron
50. Justin Lewis
Seabron can get to the rim whenever he wants. Next, he has to learn how to finish and/or pass. Lewis has the body of an NBA player. The talent, though, is a work in progress.
51. JD Davison
52. Hugo Besson
Davison is an undersized guard who jumps high and plays with enthusiasm. Besson is a baller from France who enjoys letting it fly.
53. Khalifa Diop
54. Dominick Barlow
55. Trevion Williams
Diop is a draft-and-stash center prospect with a few loose connections to the Spurs through Senegal. Barlow moves extremely well for a big but has never played at a high level. The last of the many Williams on this Big Board is a center who passes it as well as any guard in the draft.
56. Jabari Walker
57. David Roddy
If not for slow-ish feet, Walker and Roddy would be a lot higher on this list. To make it, Walker would likely have to play power forward and Roddy, at 6-foot-6, will need to acquaint himself with the center position.
58. Tyrese Martin
Martin has played in all the pre-draft camps and competitions and has thrived. That has certainly caught San Antonio’s attention, as that’s what they look for more than any other team in the association.