Mar 2, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers forward K.J. McDaniels (32) during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at J.C. Littlejohn Coliseum. Tigers won 77-73. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Holding the 30th pick in the upcoming NBA draft means the San Antonio Spurs will have to get lucky to find quality talent. Here are some sleepers.
Joe Harris – SF – Virginia
The front court is extended to see the action for the Spurs when the draft takes place so it’s likely the forwards and centers will hold center stage. One name that continues to resurface from time to time is Joe Harris. While a tad small for the forward position at 6’6″, scouts describe him as tough kid with a great shooting stroke and the athleticism to both defend and space the floor. His high basketball IQ will appeal to a coach like Gregg Popovich.
Spencer Dinwiddie – PG/SG – Colorado
The San Antonio Spurs have a history of not being squeamish about certain issues with a player if they feel his upside warrants the risk. Spencer Dinwiddie has a cloud hanging over him as he recovers from knee surgery but the Colorado guard has impressed with his intelligence while his tape and stats show a player who can score on his own or setup teammates. He’s at his best in transition where he either attacks the rim or can spot up for a shot from long range.
Xavier Thames – PG – San Diego State
The Spurs have a situation to sort out at point guard. Tony Parker is not expected to go anywhere but his backup, Patty Mills, is a pending free agent. His loss could leave a big hole on the bench for San Antonio. Xavier Thames is not a lights-out shooter, but he is a clutch one. His athleticism and toughness help him excel on defense while a razorsharp focus allows him to hit consistently at the free throw line.
K.J. McDaniels – SF – Clemson
In terms of pro ready prospects, they don’t get much better than K.J. McDaniels. The San Antonio Spurs have typically preferred guys who can contribute right away, and the Clemson forward can do that and more. He can score practically at will but is absolutely deadly in transition. On top of that he’s a really good athlete which helps him really clamp down on defense. If the Spurs are looking for the ideal NBA backup to Kawhi Leonard, this is it.
Markel Brown – SG – Oklahoma State
Sometimes when a college team has an elite prospect in its midst, it’s easy to miss other quality players sitting on the same bench. That may be the case for Markel Brown at Oklahoma State. Lost in the Marcus Smart euphoria, the 6’3″ guard has steadily improved every year for the Cowboys. In 2013-2014, he averaged 17.2 points and 5.3 rebounds, the latter of which is very impressive for his position. He can defend almost anybody and his amazing vertical leap resulted in the third-highest mark in NBA combine history. If the San Antonio Spurs are looking less for need and more for quality, Brown is their guy.