Spurs Draft: Who Should They Take With Their First Round Selection?
By George Middleton
If the NBA season ended today the San Antonio Spurs would have the 24th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Just to give you an idea there has been some pretty talentedÂ 24th picks in draft history.
Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry, Andrei Kirilenko, and Latrell Spreewell have been selected 24th in the past 25 years. Those five players have either had terrific NBA careers or will eventually have terrific careers. Jackson and Ibaka haven’t been selected to an all-star game like the other three, but you can bet that they will be all-stars one day.
At 47-26 this season and coming off an NBA title there isn’t much the Spurs need, but this upcoming draft is one of the deepest in recent memory.
Who should the Spurs draft?
Next: Cliff Alexander
Cliff Alexander was without question a disappointment in his freshman season at Kansas. Despite the Jayhawks success this season, it was Alexander that was often left out as he was either hurt or sitting out with an eligibility issue. The Jayhawks went 27-9 this year getting eliminated in the third round of the
Feb 7, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Cliff Alexander (2) attempts a shot against Oklahoma State Cowboys forward/center Mitchell Solomon (41) during the first half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Tournament. Alexander didn’t play in either the NCAAÂ tournament or the Big 12 tournament. When he did play he averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 17.6 minutes. Alexander has room for growth as he doesn’t have much range on his jump-shot. He is a terrific shot-blocker (1.3 blocks) and he possesses lots of strength. Weighing in at around 240 pounds at 6″8, Alexander has the NBA body, the only question is if his skills will continue to improve. Alexander is a classic example of a player that will be selected in the first round based off his age and potential. He is projected to go late first round/early second round, so there is a chance the Spurs can take him. A team that already has most positions filled like the Spurs can afford to take a gamble on Alexander.
Next: Tyus Jones
Strangely enough, Tyus Jones hasn’t flew up draft boards despite being the floor general for a Duke team that is in the Final Four. Despite only being a freshman when you see Jones you can’t help but to think that he plays similar to Chris Paul or Mike Conley. Of course selecting him late in the first round it will be a
Mar 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Tyus Jones (5) pump his fist during the second half in the finals of the south regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
steal if he does become that kind of player. Jones has a ton of IQ, a good jumper (37% threes) and is a terrific playmaker. On the season Jones is averaging 11.6 points, 5.7 assists and 1.5 steals. He is also an 89% free-throw shooter. Jones also loves to play in the big moments, as shown in his back-to-back 15 point performances in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Looking at Jones game there isn’t much red flags, other than the fact that he may not have the potential that other prospects have as he is already developed in many areas. If he stays put in terms of draft stock the Spurs should take him if he is on the board.
Next: Christian Wood?
Christian Wood was without question one of the most improved players in the country this season. The 6″11 forward went from averaging 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds as a freshman to averaging 15.7 points and 10 rebounds as a sophomore. Wood is a difficult player to evaluate as he has the height of a power forward, but the body of a small forward (220 pounds). The problem with players like this is that they can become “tweeners”, players that don’t have a true position. Being 6″11 will play to Wood’s advantage as he surely won’t be undersized. Wood has solid shooting ability (28% threes, 74% free-throws), but he can still improve his range a bit. He is a terrific athlete that can rebound with the best of them. Wood’s biggest strength beside his rebounding, is his shot-blocking. He averaged 2.7 blocks this season. As of now Wood is projected to go late in the first round, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he goes in the 20-25 range.
Next: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has lots of potential as an NBA player. He is raw, a tremendous athlete and one of the best defenders in the draft. With the small-forward spot locked up in San Antonio with Kawhi Leonard,
Mar 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (23) reacts against Wisconsin Badgers during the first half in the finals of the west regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Hollis-Jefferson can beÂ a terrific backup. The problem with Hollis-Jefferson is he can’t shoot (21% threes). He is an underrated passer and he finishes around the basket well. For a small forward he is also a terrific rebounder (6.8 rebounds). His game reminds me of Gerald Wallace a lot which only means one thing, he can be a potential steal.Â The only question with Hollis-Jefferson will be if he declares for the draft, I believe he will which explains why he is on here.