The 2022 NBA Draft is less than a week away. On Thursday, we’ll find out what plans the San Antonio Spurs have for their four selections. With picks at 9, 20, 25 and 38, it promises to be an eventful night for San Antonio.
In this Spurs Big Board, I’ll rank the players in the draft in order from best to worst from San Antonio’s perspective. Due to recent intel from sources around the league, there’s been a lot of movement since Big Board 3.0 was published.
The top four in the Spurs Big Board remains exactly the same. If the Spurs trade up and move into the top of the draft, this is the order I’d expect them to target the prospects.
5. Bennedict Mathurin
Mathurin isn’t in the same tier as the top four prospects but he’s clearly the best of the rest — from San Antonio’s perspective, at least. His explosive athleticism and deft shooting touch give him a high ceiling as a scorer. Mathurin needs work on defense and must refine his ball-handling ability to unlock his full potential but he’s a plug-and-play sparkplug on Day 1.
6. Keegan Murray
7. Dyson Daniels
Reports indicate that Daniels has struggled to shoot three-pointers during his team workouts. That’s worrisome enough for me to drop him a spot. While he’s an excellent defender and a difference-maker as a passer, he needs to shoot it straight to thrive in the NBA. His stroke is robotic and doesn’t look natural. If the Spurs pass on Daniels, his jumper would be the reason.
Murray moves up to six after Daniels’ slip. While Murray comes with his own set of question marks, he’s at the very least an accurate shooter with innate scoring instincts. Though his ceiling might be overstated, it’s clear that Murray could become a long-term starter.
8. Johnny Davis
There’s a lot of smoke that seems to point to the Spurs being really interested in Davis. San Antonio has gone out of their way to interview him and bring him in for extensive workouts. If the Spurs want a competitive defender on the perimeter and a prospect with sky-high potential as a scorer, Davis fits that bill. That said, he comes with quite a bit of downside risks regarding his overall efficiency, so picking him at nine would be a gamble of sorts.
9. Jalen Williams
Williams stays at No. 9 on the Spurs Big Board. After his meteoric rise at the NBA combine, the Spurs were one of the first teams to get him in for a workout. It may sound like a reach but the Spurs could very well pick Williams in the lottery.
When he worked out for the Spurs in San Antonio, Williams met with head coach Gregg Popovich. While we shouldn’t read into that too, too much — it should at least confirm that the Spurs are very much interested in him.
10. Jeremy Sochan
Like Daniels, Sochan’s shooting during workouts has been less than stellar, according to multiple sources. While his mechanics aren’t necessarily broken, a lot of work is needed for him to become a consistent shooter. On the other end of the court, Sochan’s defensive potential is so vast that the Spurs could still pick him ninth overall — even if they don’t totally believe in his jumper.
11. Malaki Branham
Branham doesn’t get talked about much as being in the mix at nine but that’s probably a mistake. In fact, if the Spurs pick him in the lottery, it’d be a move that would look predictable in retrospect. Branham is a high character kid who was undervalued coming out of high school. Following a fantastic freshman season in which he was one of the most efficient scorers in the nation, the 6-foot-5 guard exhibited enough promise that he could go in the top ten.
12. Shaedon Sharpe
Going into the draft process, I didn’t think the Spurs would be interested in Sharpe because of the lack of competitiveness he exhibited in the last year. To his credit, though, he has been active in recent weeks. Within that time period, Sharpe had a workout with the Spurs. While the Spurs have been tight-lipped regarding how Sharpe played, I was told that he was as supremely athletic as advertised.
Scouts not associated with the Spurs have told me that Sharpe has been a disaster in interviews. Does San Antonio draft Sharpe at nine if he’s available? It’s possible but I still think it’s unlikely.
13. Jalen Duren
14. Mark Williams
According to a source, Hall of Famer Larry Brown is advising the Spurs to draft Duren, the uber athletic center out of Memphis. Brown, who is currently an assistant coach at Memphis, is said to have spoken to multiple members of the Spurs front office about Duren. Considering that Gregg Popovich and RC Buford have extremely close ties to Brown, this connection to Duren can’t be ignored.
Williams, an impossibly long big man prospect out of Duke, is the other center prospect that could possibly be taken at nine. His 9-foot-9 standing reach, reliable engine and soft hands make it easy to imagine him as a starting center for a long, long time.
15. Tari Eason
Watching Eason play, he doesn’t strike me as a player the Spurs would be interested in. He turned the ball over a ton, rarely passed and basically relied on overpowering his opponents. Additionally, his feel for the game looks like it’s a major work in progress.
However, all signs point to the Spurs being interested in Eason. They interviewed him at the combine and have since brought him in for workouts. He’s 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. He weighs 217 pounds and has gigantic hands. The 21-year-old is freakishly athletic and extremely strong. He was also one of the most productive players in the nation on a per-minute basis last season at LSU. At the end of the day, perhaps his production and his physical frame will be too much for the Spurs to bypass.
16. Dalen Terry
Terry is the type of player the Spurs typically target. While his statistics last season at Arizona don’t jump off the page, he’s an unselfish teammate who plays to win. He passes, he defends and he does all the small things with a smile on his face. Character-wise, scouts give him sterling marks.
17. Blake Wesley
Wesley had a workout in San Antonio and his representatives are saying that the Spurs expressed a lot of interest in their client. It’s impossible to know how much truth there is in that but he’s definitely someone I could imagine the Spurs picking at 20 or 25.
If San Antonio selects Wesley, it’d be as a replacement for Lonnie Walker IV because he’s the same type of player. Walker is more athletic and is more of a natural shooter but Wesley has a much higher defensive ceiling and has shown flashes of being able to create separation within halfcourt offensive sets — which is an immensely valuable skill to have in the modern NBA.
18. Max Christie
The biggest riser in this edition of the Spurs Big Board is Max Christie. In the last Big Board, he was ranked 51st. But since then, I’ve heard a lot of talk about Christie being a leading candidate for the Spurs at either 20 or 25. In fact, the same person who told me about San Antonio’s interest in Joshua Primo prior to last year’s draft is saying Christie is the guy in this draft.
Christie is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard out of Michigan State. The 19-year-old is lauded for his leadership and his maturity. On the court, he’s a solid athlete and has enough feel that he should at least be able to become a neutral defender. Offensively, while he struggled to shoot it at Michigan State (he shot 31.7% on three-pointers as a freshman), his mechanics appear to be flawless.
The Spurs picking Christie at 20 or 25 would be a little bit of a reach based on how much he struggled as a freshman but I wouldn’t be mad about the selection. Finding a potential shooter who isn’t a negative on defense is a win in the 20s. Add in his pristine character reports and he would be a very Spurs-esque pick.
19. Gabriele Procida
Procida remains the top international player on my Spurs Big Board. He’s an athletic 6-foot-8 wing with a picture-perfect stroke. Add in the fact that he may be willing to stay overseas for a season or two and I think he makes a ton of sense for the Spurs with one of their final three draft picks.
20. AJ Griffin
Griffin is another riser. Scouts are reporting that Griffin has lost weight since his freshman season at Duke. With less bulk, he has reportedly regained some of the athleticism that seemed to be missing since his high school days. While I still wouldn’t love the Spurs picking him at nine, he’s a legitimately elite shooting prospect with the possibility of becoming a plus athlete. If he slips to 20, the Spurs picking Griffin could be a coup.
21. MarJon Beauchamp
Another prospect that’s generating a lot of silver and black smoke is Beauchamp. He’s a 6-foot-7 hustle player who relies on his athleticism and constant movement. Conversely, shooting is a struggle for him and he’s still really raw.
Beauchamp isn’t a typical Spurs prospect because he’ll be 22 years old by the start of the regular season and he’s bounced around quite a bit the last couple years. But not only did he interview with the Spurs at the combine and workout for them in San Antonio, he also met with Popovich.
22. TyTy Washington
On paper, Washington isn’t a good fit in San Antonio. His best position is probably at point guard and he shoots a ton of mid-range jumpers. It goes without saying that those traits aren’t exactly what Spurs fans are looking for in a draft pick.
But, like is the case with Beauchamp, there are a lot of whispers and signs hinting at interest from the Spurs. If San Antonio does pick Washington, it’d simply be a case of the Spurs picking the best player available regardless of fit — and I actually think that’s the smartest move right now. Truthfully, the Spurs aren’t good enough to put too much stock into fit or positional needs.
23. EJ Liddell
Liddell has a somewhat limited ceiling but he is a strong fit on the roster — if fit is something the Spurs consider in this draft. He’s a 6-foot-7 big man with a 7-foot wingspan. He has range on his jumper and there’s little doubt that he’ll be able to hold his ground in the paint.
24. Jaden Hardy
25. Ousmane Dieng
It’s difficult to know where to put these two boom-or-bust candidates. Hardy has go-to scorer potential — but he was wildly inefficient in the G League and his decision-making left a lot to be desired.
In theory, Dieng is a 6-foot-9 playmaker who may even become a lead ball-handling down the line. However, he too has always really struggled with efficiency. The Frenchman has an unquestionable amount of talent but he’s likely years away from being a difference-maker. I haven’t heard about the Spurs showing interest in Dieng so that’s the main reason why he slips down the list in this iteration of the Big Board.
26. Josh Minott
27. Kennedy Chandler
Minott was lost on the bench during his lone season at Memphis but his per-minute production was impressive. Analytics-based scouts love him. At 6-foot-8 and 205 pounds, he’s an ultra athletic forward who has shown a notable amount of anticipation on both ends of the court. There are also hints that he might be able to shoot it at some point in time.
Chandler is another analytics darling. He’s a point guard who can be counted on to make things happen. However, he’s 6-foot-nothing and is a questionable shooter — so his fit on the current Spurs roster is very iffy.
28. Bryce McGowens
McGowens is a bucket getter. That’s who he is and that’s what he does. The most interesting thing about him is he gets to the line a ton, especially for a teenager who weighs only 181 pounds.
29. Ochai Agbaji
Agbaji can jump high, shoot three-pointers and give effort on defense. There’s a place in the league for him but his all-around game is bland and there doesn’t appear to be much untapped potential remaining.
30. Caleb Houstan
The Spurs were rumored to have given a promise to Houstan a couple weeks back. That talk has simmered down a bit but he’s still likely in the mix to be drafted by San Antonio. He’s a poor athlete but he’s 6-foot-8 and has a history of shooting three-pointers well and making winning plays.
31. Kendall Brown
32. Nikola Jovic
Brown is 6-foot-7 and can jump high — but that’s about the extent of his appeal. He has shown some passing ability but he also can struggle with confidence and assertiveness. Jovic is 6-foot-11 and can pass — but everything else about him is more hypothetical. He projects to be a sub par defender and he doesn’t have a history of being a sharpshooter.
33. Trevor Keels
34. Christian Braun
35. Jake LaRavia
Keels is an 18-year-old guard out of Duke who can be counted on to play hard. Braun can run, jump and shoot but has a low release point that may hinder his development. LaRavia is a do-it-all forward who might not do anything well enough to be more than a 10th man.
36. Ryan Rollins
37. Patrick Baldwin Jr
Rollins is an undersized scorer who showed promise at the combine. Baldwin is an oversized shooter who really struggled with the athletic testing at the combine.
38. Peyton Watson
39. Justin Lewis
Watson is a 6-foot-8 small forward with a 7-foot wingspan. He did next to nothing as a freshman at UCLA but he was formerly a highly touted recruit due primarily to his defensive upside.
Lewis is like the second round version of Eason. He’s 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. He’s 235 pounds and has huge hands. He did well at times as a sophomore at Marquette but his primary draw remains his impressive physique.
40. Jaylin Williams
41. Wendell Moore
42. Christian Koloko
Williams is a high IQ center who takes charges in bundles and passes it well. Moore is a well-rounded guard who does a little bit of everything. Koloko is a towering center out of Arizona who is rapidly improving in a variety of areas.
43. Jean Montero
44. Hugo Besson
45. JD Davison
All three of these guys are undersized shooting guards. Montero brings speed, Besson brings shooting and Davison brings athleticism.
46. John Butler
47. Dereon Seabron
48. Jabari Walker
Butler is a 7-foot-1 sniper — but he weighs only 174 pounds and needs years of developmental work. Seabron is 6-foot-6 and can seemingly get to the rim whenever he wants but he struggles to finish or pass. Walker is a quality shooter and rebounder but Samaki’s son is a stiff athlete.
49. Ismael Kamagate
50. Walker Kessler
51. Dominick Barlow
52. Khalifa Diop
53. Trevion Williams
54. David Roddy
This clump of prospects all project to be centers. Kamagate is powerful but lacks refinement. Kessler is a shot-blocking king but has slow feet. Barlow moves well but needs to get better at basketball. There are some connections from the Spurs to Diop through Senegal — but he appears to have a Drew Eubanks-like ceiling. Williams is a fantastic passer but is probably too immobile to survive. Roddy is the most talented of this group but he’s only 6-foot-6 … and that’s not an optimal height for someone who will need to play minutes at center.
55. Andrew Nembhard
56. Alondes Williams
These two point guard prospects are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Nembhard is a low mistake orchestrator who won’t rock the boat. Williams, on the other hand, is extraordinarily flashy and oozes creativity but it’s questionable whether he could ever be a net-positive on the court due to his wild ways.
57. Tyrese Martin
58. Ziga Samar
Martin has fought his way up the ranks during the predraft process — and that’s exactly the type of player the Spurs like. Even the 38th pick is likely too high to select him but the Spurs could add him on a two-way contract after the draft. If the Spurs want a draft-and-stash candidate, Samar looks like an option. He’s a 6-foot-6 point guard out of Slovenia who hit 47.1% of his three-pointers in Spain this season.