On Thursday, June 27th, 60 young men will see their dream of being selected in the NBA Draft become a reality. Some guys may become superstars, some may be labeled busts, some may stay overseas or never actually make it to the NBA. But at least they will forever have the honor of being selected to the NBA.
For the San Antonio Spurs…well, let’s be honest. We have no clue. Correctly predicting who the Spurs are going to draft, ranks up there with winning the lottery or hitting a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series, on the difficulty scale. But that won’t stop us from making an educated guess!
Everyone’s seen the mock drafts and projections of who may fall or whose stalk is rising. But instead of writing another copycat post, we’ve decided to bring you all the potential prospects on one article. Nearly every guy the Spurs have worked out is on here. If the Spurs are rumored to be looking at this player, he’s on here. If we’ve seen mock drafts from credible writers, and they have the Spurs picking Player X from Any USA University, he’s on here too. We scoured the internet for information, so you don’t have to. And it’s all right here. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. We introduce to you the 2013 NBA Draft Spurs Bible of Potential Draftees.
We’ve got plenty of guys to sift through, so we’re utilizing the slideshow feature for this one. Use the left and right arrow keys to go through each page.
James Southerland, Forward, Syracuse: 6’8″, 221 pounds
Assuming the Spurs resign Ginobili and Splitter, one of the Spurs biggest needs is a wing player off the bench to backup Kawhi Leonard. Enter small forward James Southerland. You can never have enough shooters on the floor, and in the playoffs the Spurs bench lineup proved to have trouble scoring without any of the “big three” on the court.
Southerland is a great shooter, who admits his defense and ball handling need improvement. Interesting enough in his Draft Express interview, he mentions how the Spurs have utilized great shooters like Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Matt Bonner.
Here’s what DraftExpress has to say about his game:
While Southerland is predominantly a three-point shooting specialist, he also shows flashes of a mid-range game, being comfortable spotting up or coming off screens for spot-up jumpers from really anywhere on the floor, from free-throw line extended to even the mid post. While this probably isn’t something that could develop into a staple for him, it does give him some versatility and provides offenses with a safety valve option late in the shot clock.
The rest of Southerland’s offensive game is not featured often, with off-ball cuts to the basket being the most noteworthy of his non-shooting skills. Southerland actually does a good job finishing with power in these situations, not being afraid to go up hard for strong finishes, which allows him to be a good finisher overall in these situations. He shows decent ability both in the half court and in transition, though without anything in the line of ball-handling skills, he’s very limited in this regard. Just 8.5% of Southerland’s offense comes in isolation or pick and roll situations, and not a single one of those possessions resulted in a shot at the basket, highlighting just how reliant he is on his jump-shot for offense.
On the defensive end, as is the case with most Syracuse players (especially forwards), it’s incredibly difficult to glean much of anything in regards to Southerland’s ability to defend at an NBA level due to the Orange’s strict 3-2 zone. On the positive side, Southerland played nearly 30 minutes per game for the country’s fifth best defense according to kenpom.com, and is an active and attentive player in their scheme. On the other hand, however, he’s rarely tested in isolation situations in the perimeter or on the low block, and it’s questionable whether he has the lateral quickness to guard NBA 3′s or the size and strength to guard NBA 4′s, likely leaving him without an ideal position on the defensive end.
Southerland is a projected late second round pick, via the Washington Post.
Isaiah Canaan, Guard, Murray State; 6’0″, 188 pounds
I don’t know much about Canaan, besides the fact that he’s an excellent scoring point guard. He worked out for the Spurs and is a projected late first round pick, but more likely to be an early second rounder. Canaan has been compared to last years Rookie of the Year winner, Damian Lillard, because of his mid-major success.
Canaan is a strong, aggressive scoring point guard who put up big numbers in college … He’s a deadly outside shooter who shot 42% on 3-pointers during his college career … He’s one of the best shooters off the dribble in this draft class, thanks to his quick release … Canaan is also very proficient on the catch-and-shoot, which will help him in the NBA when he isn’t handling the ball as often as he did in college… A pesky perimeter defender, Canaan is able to harass opposing point guards into losing their handle on the ball, leading to an easy break the other way … Attacks the basket with assertiveness, combining with his bulk to make him very difficult to slow down … Good wingspan (6’4.5″) will help him compensate for his lack of height.
Deshaun Thomas, Forward, Ohio State: 6’7″, 220 pounds
If you remember, Deshaun Thomas famously declined to give the Spurs his phone numberwhen asked, saying they could have it if he was guaranteed to be selected. Not a good start, kid. And it’s attitude like that, that assures me the Spurs won’t draft him, no matter how good of a fit he may be.
Here’s his draft profile from DraftExpress:
In projecting Thomas to the next level, it is worth nothing that the complementary role he played as a sophomore is likely a better reflection of what he’ll be asked to do at the next level than the one he’s played this year. His jump shot will help him spread the floor while his scoring instincts and ability to exploit mismatches on the block give him upside as a diverse offensive roleplayer.
The main question regarding Thomas’s NBA potential is what position he can defend effectively. His versatile offensive game affords him some flexibility on that end of the floor, but his lack of footspeed for a three, size and length for a four, and overall consistency on the defensive end are troubling…
Another concern revolves around his lackluster rebounding production, particularly on the defensive end, where he ranks dead last at his position amongst top-100 power forwards.
Thomas is a projected second round pick.