San Antonio Spurs, Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs should avoid these players in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The San Antonio Spurs will head into the 2017 NBA Draft with the No. 29 and 59 picks, coming in the first and second rounds, respectively. It’s not an uncommon spot for the franchise to select, given its success over the past 20 years.
in 2016, the Spurs also had pick 29, and they took point guard Dejounte Murray out of Washington. So far, he’s showed upside to become at least a steady player off the bench, but in the past, the team has selected players who never panned out.
While it’s impossible to know who will boom and who will bust, the Spurs should avoid these following players, so they don’t select someone like Livio Jean-Charles again (Jean-Charles was selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft, but got cut in his first training camp last fall).
Mar 26, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds All American guard Terrance Ferguson (6) poses for photos on portrait day at the Marriott Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
5. Terrance Ferguson
Terrance Ferguson became one of the few American-born players to skip college and head overseas to play college basketball, following the paths Emmanual Mudiay and Brandon Jennings took. Ferguson played in Australia from 2016-17.
Ferguson’s 6-foot-7 size for a shooting guard will stand out, as well as his athleticism, which NBADraft.net highly praised. His shot has been respected, too. However, the issue is the former top recruit struggled in his first taste of professional action.
In 15.2 minutes played with the Adelaide 36ers, Ferguson only shot 38 percent, 31 percent from three-point range, and averaged just 4.6 points. His game may better translate in the NBA, but those numbers won’t jump off the page for anyone.
What won’t help is the lack of success for Jennings and Mudiay after doing a season overseas, especially the latter. Jennings found success in his first few years, but never found his shot and has become a bench presence. Mudiay struggled to keep his starting job in his second season and put up similar shooting numbers to Jennings.
Next: Tony Bradley
Jan 28, 2017; Coral Gables, FL, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Tony Bradley (5) reacts during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Watsco Center. Miami won 77-62. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
4. Tony Bradley
Tony Bradley is 6-foot-10, with an impressive wingspan of 7-foot-4. He has an NBA body (250 pounds) and put up solid numbers in limited action with North Carolina, only averaging 14.6 minutes per game.
There are things to like about Bradley’s game, including an ability to shoot from mid-range and the potential to develop into an NBA role player. The issue is the length of this development, which could take a while or never materialize.
Despite the length, rim protection isn’t a strong suit for Bradley. His 0.6 blocks per game projected to just 1.6 in his Per 40 stats in college. That hints at a lack of athleticism, something that’s difficult to be developed. So in a league where blocking the rim is always warranted against the quicker guards, they may drive past Bradley, as well as the more athletic big men maneuvering their way around him.
Bradley’s 61.9 percent mark from the free throw line doesn’t help his stock, either. While players like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond have succeeded in spite of that, the Bartow, FL native isn’t as skilled or athletic in making up for it.
Next: John Collins
Mar 14, 2017; Dayton, OH, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons head coach Danny Manning talks to forward John Collins (20) in the first half against the Kansas State Wildcats in the first four of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Dayton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
3. John Collins
A theme of this will be big-man draft picks for the San Antonio Spurs. This draft has plenty of them, especially ones projected to go near the bottom of Round 1. One of them will be John Collins out of Wake Forest.
Collins nearly averaged a double-double, closing in on a 20-and-10 season in his sophomore year. He’s athletic, has a decent jump shot from mid-range, and can be a big body for rebounding. Everything else is an issue, however.
As NBADraft.net noted, Collins can’t stretch the floor on the perimeter and isn’t exactly known for his defense. It’s not one that a normally defensive-minded organization will love:
Gets blocks but is also very foul prone … Often leaves his feet when he doesn’t need too … Plays defense standing too tall … Allows players to beat him off the dribble too often … Lazy in his pick-and-roll defense … Will hedge too high and leave his man wide open on the roll … Defensive awareness is lacking … Needs a crash course in the fundamentals of defense…”
That’s won’t get Collins on the floor in late-game defensive situations. Athletic, taller players that he’ll have to defend may have a field day with him, if this scouting report holds up in the pros. It’s someone who the Spurs should avoid, even though this is someone who may not even get to them at No. 29.
Next: Justin Jackson
Feb 2, 2017; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Ivan Rabb (1) reacts after a play by the Utah Utes during the second overtime period at Haas Pavilion. The California Golden Bears defeated the Utah Utes 77-75 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
2. Ivan Rabb
Once a highly-touted recruit, Ivan Rabb spent two seasons with California. He’s a lanky big man, with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and an athletic ability to go back and forth down the floor. Rabb could go around the end of Round 1 or in early Round 2, but is someone the Spurs should avoid.
While Rabb can run the floor, he doesn’t have much of a jump shot, which goes against the trending direction of power forwards in the NBA. Defenders will be able to ease off and let him drive to the basket, going after the biggest bodies in the league. This won’t help Rabb, either, with his thin frame of 220 pounds at 6-foot-10. So there’s every chance he’ll have a tough time using his post game in the pros, and without a perimeter game, it may be difficult for him to adapt.
Unless the Spurs feel Rabb is worth placing in the G-League for the 2017-18 season, he should be passed on in the 2017 NBA Draft. There’s a fair amount of bust potential here, as it’s someone who doesn’t fit today’s basketball strongly and won’t find his way onto the floor often in an ever-developing shooting league.
Next: Harry Giles
Mar 10, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Harry Giles (1) reacts during the second half of an ACC Conference Tournament game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
1. Harry Giles
Harry Giles, who already had a history of knee problems, came into the 2016-17 college basketball season as one of the top players to watch. Just before the campaign started, Giles had surgery on his knee again and missed the next 10 weeks. That immediately set off red flags for the 2017 NBA Draft, months before it was set to take place.
Now, Giles is projected to go outside the top-10. If teams feel his knees are too big of a risk, he could freefall out of the lottery and into the bottom-half of the draft. That may leave the San Antonio Spurs in a position to pick the former top recruit, but even then, they should avoid him.
Giles is talented but too risky to take on for a franchise that needs to get younger at center and power forward. He would potentially be looked at as a “steal” at No. 29, given his NBA body and ability to defend the post. Someone will take him for this and the upside he has, but if the Spurs are looking for a more secure long-term investment, they should at someone like Ike Anigbogu from UCLA.