San Antonio Spurs: 3 Predictions for the 2017 NBA Draft
By Rob Wolkenbrod
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
With the San Antonio Spurs set for Thursday’s 2017 NBA Draft, what are some predictions for its big night?
The 2017 NBA Draft is almost here, with the San Antonio Spurs set for two picks — at No. 29 selection in Round 1 and No. 59 in Round 2. This is the second straight year the franchise has this first-round pick, after using it on Dejounte Murray in 2016.
With the Spurs, draft direction is always an unknown. Sometimes, the team will pick a collegiate player, while other times a “draft-and-stash” player is picked. This means there’s no timetable for the team bringing this pick to the NBA, with him being left to play overseas.
These are paths San Antonio can go in, but there’s also a chance of them being active in other ways on draft night. What could this entail? Let’s predict what the Spurs will or won’t do on Thursday night.
May 22, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gives direction to his team against the Golden State Warriors during the first half in game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
3. No Trades in Round 1
The San Antonio Spurs haven’t been against trades on draft night. The big Kawhi Leonard-George Hill trade came during the 2011 NBA Draft, which shaped the franchise in the years to come. However, in recent years, the organization stayed away from making a big move during the draft.
Well, don’t expect anything different in 2017. That can point toward who they’ve worked out.
The Spurs worked out players like Josh Hart, Caleb Swanigan, Anzejs Pasecniks and Luke Kornet, all of whom are potential second-round picks or those that could slip into the end of Round 1 (h/t Hoops Hype). They haven’t eyed potential lottery picks in pre-draft exercises, potentially signaling no trade being in the works. That may change on draft night, of course, if one of these players are projected to go higher than expected and the Spurs decide they want this prospect.
Round 2 could be a different story since it’s usually a flurry of activity. The Spurs can easily flip the No. 59 pick for cash or a future selection, much like teams have done in the past.
Could trading the second-round pick be used toward saving money in cap space? Possibly, although the amount would be small.
Next: The Second-Round Pick is Stashed
May 22, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee (1) defends during the first half in game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
2. The Second-Round Pick is Stashed
Playing off the potential trade of the No. 59 pick, it’s possible this selection isn’t dealt, but still never seen with the San Antonio Spurs, at least for a handful of years. This fits the draft-and-stash strategy that the franchise has used for years.
The last time the Spurs stashed a player, they took Nikola Milutinov from Croatia in Round 1 of the 2015 NBA Draft. Milutinov will finally join the Spurs, but maybe just for this summer.
If a two-year wait seems long, the Spurs waited six years for Adam Hanga, who’s set to join the team next season. They, coincidentally, used the No. 59 pick on him in 2011.
In between Hanga and Milutinov, Livio Jean-Charles was selected in Round 1 of the 2013 NBA Draft. However, after joining the franchise last fall for training camp, they cut him.
So while this isn’t a strategy the Spurs use every year, they’ve done it in every few drafts. So with Milutinov and Hanga potentially joining the team for the 2017-18 season, is it time for someone else to be stashed?
Power forward Mathias Lessort is a potential draft-and-stash pick, out of France. The same goes for Vlatko Cancar of Slovenia, Jonathan Jeanne of France and Aleksander Vezenkov of Bulgaria.
Next: No. 29 Pick is Used on a...
Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Dejounte Murray (Washington) puts on a team cap after being selected as the number twenty-nine overall pick to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
1. No. 29 is Used on a Guard
The San Antonio Spurs are in need of guard depth, most notably with Tony Parker’s injury. It will keep him out until January, according to EuroHoops.net. Patty Mills is also an unrestricted free agent, so there’s the possibility he’ll be lost, too. This leaves Dejounte Murray at point guard.
However, shooting guard could be without Manu Ginobili, if he retires. Even if Ginobili returns, a younger two-guard could be used to at least sit and learn from this Spurs legend for one season.
Despite the needs at center and power forward, the Spurs have Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge for next season. While Murray may show the ability the handle the starting point guard spot, insurance is needed in case he can’t, especially if Mills is lost, too.
At point guard, Jawun Evans and Frank Jackson are options. Evans, at 6-foot, profiles more as a one-guard than Jackson, who is a bit of an undersized two-guard.
Josh Hart is an option at shooting guard. He worked out with the Spurs, according to News4SanAntonio.com, and is someone that may be available at No. 29. Other options include PZ Dozier, Damyean Dotson and Sindarius Thornwell.
Next: Top 10 First-Round Picks in Spurs History
What will happen with the Spurs in the 2017 NBA Draft? Will any of these predictions come true?