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
Who will the San Antonio Spurs select in the 2017 NBA Draft?
On Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs will have two selections in the 2017 NBA Draft — No. 29 and 59 in the first and second round, respectively. They selected 29th in 2016, bringing over point guard Dejounte Murray from Washington.
The direction for this year’s picks is unknown, as the Spurs are buried deep in the opening round. So they’re not as publicized as the Los Angeles Lakers or Philadelphia 76ers, who are picking at the top of the draft. That means the San Antonio front office will sit back and watch, as 28 picks are made before they can consider their own.
Who should the Spurs pick at No. 29? How about 59? Let’s take a look at the best option for each, along with realistic and unrealistic alternatives.
Feb 7, 2017; Villanova, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) against the Georgetown Hoyas during the first half at The Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1, Pick 29: Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
The pick is in, and it’s Josh Hart. He’s a four-year shooting guard from Villanova, who won the 2016 National Championship with them.
Hart became one of the best at his position in the nation, getting better with each year. His senior season included a career-high in points (18.7), assists (2.9), and steals (1.5). There was never a year with a shooting percentage lower than 50 percent, either, and three of the four years, Hart shot over 35 percent from distance.
For now, Hart looks like a spot up shooter in the NBA. He’ll stretch the floor for someone like Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, and help the ball movement for the San Antonio Spurs, which became somewhat more isolated last season.
There’s the chance for more than just a spot-up shooter, though. If Hart’s athleticism translates to the NBA, he’ll be able to cut to the basket and drive by defenders give his game a little more depth. That also goes for his defensive ability, too, which won him the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Hart has the ability to become a two-way player, making him a valuable piece off the bench. It would be above the ninth man potential he already has, and even lead to spot starts.
Next: Logical Choices That Won't Be Available
Feb 20, 2017; Morgantown, WV, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jarrett Allen (31) dunks the ball during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Logical Picks That Won’t Be Available
Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
The Spurs need a young big man and would be a great fit for Jarrett Allen. He has the NBA body (6-foot-10, 235 pounds) and is a quality rim protector.
However, chances are Allen won’t be available at No. 29. He could at the end of the lottery or slide just outside of it, potentially to the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers. So it probably would take a trade to move up and select the former Texas star.
Bam Adebayo, PF, Kentucky
Bam Adebayo may not turn into a dominant starter, but he’ll last in the NBA as an athletic rebounding force under the basket, which goes for his rim-protecting game and strength to have his way in the post. He would make for a good change-of-pace player behind LaMarcus Aldridge.
However, like Allen, Adebayo will likely be gone by No. 29. He could go near the end of the top 20 or be an option at the end of the lottery, if a team likes him enough.
Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Justin Patton is another potential target that has an NBA body and fills a need for the Spurs. He’s an athletic rim protector and flashes upside on offense. The rebounding numbers aren’t great, but the potential is there for more as Patton grows.
However, given the need for big men in the NBA, it will likely push Patton into the middle of the first round, around where Adebayo and Allen will go. He’ll be bunched into the range of the Bulls, Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Mar 23, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Jordan Bell (1) reacts during the second half of the game against the Michigan Wolverines in the semifinals of the midwest Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Oregon defeated Michigan 69-68. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon
Jordan Bell is a scrappy player that fits the Spurs well. His energy gets him rebounds under the basket, despite being 6-foot-8, making him somewhat undersized in the NBA. A prolific shot-blocking ability in college makes up for potential size issues, too, as Bell averaged over 2 blocks per game.
Bell projects to be available at No. 29, because of his size and not being a special player on the offensive side. He’ll be somewhat limited there, but can fit as a backup if the Spurs turn toward him.
Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
Anzejs Pasecniks is an interesting scenario. He’s a potential draft-and-stash candidate from Latvia, who the Spurs worked out. Pasecniks stands at 7-foot-2, with the ability to shoot the ball from distance and athleticism that gets him up and down the court.
If teams fear that Pasecniks will remain overseas for the next few years, he’ll slide down the draft. San Antonio hasn’t shied away from players like this before, especially at a current need like center. Maybe when Aldridge’s contract expires, this is someone that can be brought over to fill a potential gap in the rotation.
Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Ivan Rabb is the latest big man option for the Spurs. He’s quick and showed the ability to grab a handful of rebounds in college, something that should make him at least a bench player in the NBA.
The issue with Rabb, which will likely see him move down the draft, is his 220-pound frame and lack of a jump shot. It may lead to a year in the G-League for the California product, but if the Spurs feel there’s enough upside there, then he should be available at No. 29.
Next: Round 2, Pick 59
Feb 27, 2016; Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Jonah Bolden (43) tries to get possession of the ball against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Round 2, Pick 59: Jonah Bolden, PF, Australia
The No. 59 pick rarely wows anyone. It’s usually a player that fails to make an NBA roster or remains overseas. That may be the case with Jonah Bolden, but he’s worthy option for the San Antonio Spurs to at least stash.
Bolden stands at 6-foot-10, weighing over 230 pounds, which isn’t ideal weight but can be improved upon. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan as well, which would make for a decent defender in the NBA, with athleticism that’s already a quality part of his skill set.
Perimeter shooting is Bolden’s strength. He can stretch the floor, which every team looks for in the modern-day NBA, especially someone as tall as him.
Bolden’s problem is his free-throw shooting, which topped out at 58 percent in the 2016-17 season with Radnicki Basket. NBADraft.net also profiled other deficiencies in his game:
“He doesn’t go to the line as often as you would expect from a guy with his skillset… Has the tendency to settle for mid-range and long range shots instead of going all the way to the basket… Has problems creating his own shot against athletic defenders… Seems to prefer to Pop out after he sets a screen rather than Roll hard to the basket…. He doesn’t establish position in the Post and can’t really exploit any miss-matches… His Post game is just average and doesn’t have enough counter moves…”
There’s downsides to anyone that’s projected to go in Round 2. However, if the Spurs see enough upside in Bolden, they can pick and stash him for a few years, hoping he gains strength and works on being more than just a shooter.
Feb 14, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward OG Anunoby (3) brings the ball up court during the first half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Logical Picks That Won’t Be Available
Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina
Sindarius Thornwell is someone who can sneak his way into the bottom of the first round, so that takes him out of the mix immediately. Thornwell is a decent shooter and a very good defender, which will make him at least a role player, maybe for a top team.
Thornwell, at worst, will go at the top of the second round, only because he may not have the athleticism to keep up in the NBA. Whoever grabs him, though, will get a steady backup off the bench that plays hard-nosed basketball.
OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
OG Anunoby would have been a pick in the middle of the first round, if not for the knee injury he suffered in college. Whoever drafts Anunoby will potentially have to redshirt him for a year, due to this.
Anunoby is a high-upside for the Spurs that likely won’t make it to the bottom of the first round, unless teams are that concerned about his knee. Look for a team like the Sacramento Kings to scoop him up at No. 34.
Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue
Caleb Swanigan makes sense as a backup for the Spurs, someone who will battle for every rebound and battle his way into the post. Like others mentioned, he would make for a different look from Aldridge as a backup at power forward.
However, Swanigan is good enough to go at the end of Round 1, maybe in the first few picks of Round 2. Unless teams find out something about him, he won’t be there at No. 59.
Mar 17, 2017; Greenville, SC, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks forward Moses Kingsley (33) shoots the ball against Seton Hall Pirates forward Angel Delgado (31) during the first half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
VJ Beachem, SF, Notre Dame
VJ Beachem turned into an efficient player for Notre Dame. He finished with a 39 percent mark from beyond the arc and showed the ability to block a shot or two.
What will get Beachem to the bottom of Round 2, is his frame, at around 200 pounds for being 6-foot-8. His overall shooting percentage fell off to 42 percent in his senior year, too, which could spell potential difficulties in the NBA. But, that gives even more of a chance of the former Fighting Irishman being available at No. 59.
Moses Kingsley, PF, Arkansas
Moses Kingsley has the size at 6-foot-10 and the 7-foot-2 wingspan. For a season, he even looked like a potential double-double machine in college.
What will see Kingsley fall, is his statistical drop from his junior to senior year in points, rebounds, steals and shooting percentage. He’s also older than just about every prospect available, at age 23. If the Spurs see beyond this and look at the measurables, then he can fit in as a possible depth piece at forward.
Mathias Lessort, PF, France
The last option is a draft-and-stash pick, Mathias Lessort. He’s a power forward from France that can battle under the basket for rebounds and block a shot or two, which ties in his impressive athleticism.
Lessort could make it to No. 59, if teams are scared of him staying overseas and never coming to the NBA. If the Spurs are willing to roll the dice on him, then this isn’t a bad pick to make.
Who will the Spurs pick in the draft? Are there options besides these players?