5 Players That The Spurs Could Target if They Trade Up
By Gabe Esquivel
The San Antonio Spurs currently have the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but there have been rumors circulating that they’re actively trying to trade up. Here are some potential targets if they are able to acquire a higher draft pick.
San Antonio have been lucky in recent drafts at drafting a player in the later rounds. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were both selected late in the first and early second round. Their latest, Kyle Anderson in 2015.
There maybe someone within the earlier picks that San Antonio is keeping their eye on.
If the Spurs do happen to make the jump and trade up here are some potential targets they should look at acquiring.
Next: Furkan Korkmaz
May 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; General view during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. The Philadelphia 76ers received the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Furkan Korkmaz is the 6’7” Turkish sharpshooter that could be the long-term replacement for Manu Ginobilli. Korkmaz has been projected all across the mid-late first round, though usually in the 16-24 range- meaning it should not be too much of a stretch to see the Spurs move up and go after him.
Korkmaz will be a project and will need polishing as he is only 18 years old, but has extremely high potential- and it’s well known how good the Spurs are at getting foreign players to reach their potential. Though, for right now, he could use his outstanding shooting ability to s
May 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announces that the 76ers receive the first pick in the 2016 NBA draft during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
tretch the floor and provide outside scoring off of the bench. The natural scoring ability that Korkmaz possesses could prove vital off the bench in San Antonio. While lacking the strength to finish closer to the basket right now, he has great spot up shooting ability both off of the dribble and the pass.
Korkmaz also has great court vision, using his 6’7” frame to see over defenders, and never looks out of place, which seems like a perfect fit for the Spurs’ offense that keeps the ball moving. He isn’t quite Kawhi Leonard on defense, but his long frame and long arms give him the physical tools to be a good defender of the shooting guard position, and the ability to defend other positions. He doesn’t quite provide the athleticism that the Spurs may need, but he is very smooth in his movements and is not slow or sluggish in any way.
While Furkan Korkmaz will require development to become a real impact player, that upside is what the Spurs could trade up for, as well as what could be San Antonio’s shooting guard of the future.
Next: International Timothe Luwawu
May 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein represents his team during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. The Philadelphia 76ers received the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Timothe Luwawu is another 6’7” shooting guard from overseas, though he seems to be more polished and ready than Furkan Korkmaz. Luwawu is usually projected in the 11-16 range- meaning that it would likely take quite a bit of value to trade up and select him.
Luwawu has outstanding size and athleticism for his position, and his improved scoring ability has made him more than just a guy with physical ability. He played about 30 minutes per game, giving him excellent conditioning, and averaged almost 15 points during that time. He can blow past the opposition on the fast break or in the half court and finish at the rim, even if it does mean he puts his head down and becomes blind to the rest of the court in the process. He has improved his shot, shooting 36% from three-point range only a year after shooting 29% from the same distance. That sort of improvement can be expected to continue in the NBA on all facets of his game, and bodes well given the physical ability that he already possesses.
He isn’t a premiere defender quite yet,despite averaging 2.1 steals per 40 minutes. His frame and physical prowess are the perfect building blocks to helping Luwawu become the best possible defender he can be. His long arms and quick step will prove very valuable in defending passing lanes.
While he is not yet the shooter that the Spurs could use, he is the athlete that the Spurs look so desperate to find. His physical abilities will allow him to run the fast-break and keep up with the athletic guards of the league. Luwawu could be the guy to replace Manu Ginobilli and usher in the new era for the Spurs.
Next: Michigan State Spartan Deyonta Davis
Jan 28, 2016; Evanston, IL, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) celebrates during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Deyonta Davis is a 6’10” power forward/center from Michigan State who could be exactly the defensive big man that the Spurs need. Davis has been all over the place in the first round mock drafts, but it seems safe to bet that the Spurs would likely have to get into the 10-15 range to grab him.
Davis makes his name by being an excellent defender and rebounder. Davis fits the bill of the modern big man perfectly; he has a 7’2” wingspan, very smooth athleticism, and extreme quickness for his size. Davis averaged almost 2 blocks per game, and over 4 blocks per 40 minutes, and had an outstanding 24.2 Player Efficiency Rating- showing his potential in every facet of the game.
Mar 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) shoots the ball as Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
The former Spartan looks like he can be a prolific NBA defender in the future, as he has the quickness to go step-for-step with any power forward or center in the league, can defend the pick and roll well, and can use his long arms to block or disrupt any potential mid-range shot. Once Davis adds more strength on, he will have every tool needed to be an elite inside-and-out defender. His rebound upside also stands out very much, because of his natural athletic ability and long reach. On the offensive side of the ball is where it looks like there is a bit more work to do for Deyonta Davis.
Davis never looked like a major threat on the offensive side of the ball last year, but he did show many glimpses of what could come. Davis has a soft touch and his quick feet will help him to improve his inside post game. Also, his athleticism serves him very well and allows him to effectively run the floor and finish at the rim emphatically.
This type of defensive ability and upside, paired with the athleticism and offensive upside could be very much worth moving up for, and Davis could be a lethal part of the front court for years to come.
Next: Kentucky Wildcat Skal Labissiere?
Mar 1, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) dunks against the Florida Gators during the second half at Stephen C. O
Skal Labissiere is another power forward/center that could help to solve San Antonio’s defensive issues down low. Labissiere’s stock has been falling just a bit as of late, from a likely top-10 pick, now into the same 10-15 range as Deyonta Davis, though he has seemingly more potential to slide a bit further.
The 20 year old former Kentucky Wildcat has outstanding physical tools, standing at 7’0” with a 7’3” wingspan. While he is rather skinny, adding on weight and filling out his frame will absolutely come under NBA trainers, so it isn’t too much of a concern right now. Labissiere can move as well
Feb 9, 2016; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) shoots the ball against Georgia Bulldogs forward Mike Edwards (32) in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Georgia 82-48. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
as anyone his height. He has quick feet and good reflexes, which makes him a terrific shot blocker. His quickness also allows him to defend out towards the perimeter and off of the pick-and-roll extremely well. Labissiere also has an excellent mid-range shot that extends near the three-point line. This makes him very dangerous on the pick-and-pop and allows him to stretch the floor for his offense.
More work on his stroke and he could very well develop a shot from behind the arch. He has great footwork and quickness to work in the post, as well as the ability to finish with either hand, but he lacks the appropriate strength required to be a real post presence.
Though, after adding weight and becoming more comfortable within himself, his post presence and finishing ability will be a combination that will be extremely hard to stop. Labissiere is another player who epitomizes the modern-day NBA big man, and could help the Spurs quite a bit on both sides of the ball for the foreseeable future.
Next: Florida State Seminole Malik Beasley
Feb 25, 2016; Durham, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) drives past Duke Blue Devils guard Matt Jones (13) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Malik Beasley is my personal favorite potential target that the Spurs can trade up for, as the 6’5”, 19 year old shooting guard from Florida State can bring a multitude of tools to the table. Beasley’s stock has fluctuated but now seems to be rising from the later first round to about the 18-25 range, meaning it is rather close to where the Spurs pick now and may not require so much value to move up.
Beasley may not look so physically imposing, but he has great athletic ability as well as great technical ability. Beasley is a guy who can catch and shoot jumpers from inside or outside the arch, pull up and knock down the mid-range shot, or slash his way to the basket and hammer home a dunk. This means that defenders cannot play off of Beasley because he will knock down the shot, but they cannot play him too tightly or he will use his quickness to blow by.
Mar 8, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) dribbles up the court in the second half against the Boston College Eagles during round one of the ACC tournament at Verizon Center. Florida State Seminoles defeated Boston College Eagles 88-66. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Beasley is efficient in his scoring too, shooting about 52% from inside the arch, and almost 39% from beyond. Beasley uses his athleticism nicely and can also rebound rather well, grabbing an impressive 5 RPG for his 6’5” frame- and 7.1 rebounds per 40 minutes. Malik Beasley has room to work on his ball-handling ability, but that is something that is sure to improve and become a non-factor when discussing weaknesses. Also, since he isn’t incredibly tall or long, he isn’t a great defender, though his quick feet will certainly guide him to improve- and since he is so young, there will be a lot of time to fine-tune his game.
Malik Beasley is yet another guy that could very well be exactly what the Spurs are looking for in a long-term shooting guard.
Next: What Does the Derrick Rose Trade Mean For the San Antonio Spurs?