2020 is the perfect year for Spurs to trade up into late first round

SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 26: Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs drives on the Dallas Mavericks at AT&T Center on February 26, 2020 (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 26: Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs drives on the Dallas Mavericks at AT&T Center on February 26, 2020 (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

With luck on their side, the San Antonio Spurs should heavily consider trading up into the later parts of the first round during the 2020 draft.

Much like Michael Scott, I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious. A little stitiousness can be a good thing. The San Antonio Spurs have been on a roll of successful late-round picks, 2020 could be the perfect year to chase after that lucky 29th pick.

Drafting is far from an exact science and past fortunes at a certain pick are no indication of future success. But you can’t deny the Spurs’ ability to find gems in the later parts of the first round. Look at who they’ve gotten with the 29th pick over the past four years: Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Dejounte Murray.

That’s a pretty strong crop of players for that late in the draft. Most of the players found that late in the draft will end up as role players. White and Murray are core parts of the Spurs’ future as likely starters. It’s still too early to deliver a strong judgment on Johnson but he showed real potential in the G-League and in his limited NBA minutes.

The 2020 draft class has been derided as one of the weaker draft classes in recent years. It’s short on top-tier talent but deep with role player level prospects. Combine that with the aspirations of teams picking towards the later stages of the draft and you have the perfect situation for the Spurs to trade up into.

Do the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers really need another role player level rookie on their roster? Boston already has more draft picks than any team could dream for and the Lakers are trying to win now. Either one would likely be open to a draft-day trade if the right offer is presented.

Additionally, the makeup of this draft class favors a two-pick strategy from San Antonio. It’s going to be a guard-heavy draft in the early parts of the first round. There are forwards like Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija, but both are likely to be gone by the time the Spurs are on the clock.

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San Antonio needs help on the wings and up front. Getting a second first-round pick would allow the Spurs to address those needs at the end of the first round and use their highest draft pick in over two decades on the best prospect on the board when it’s their turn, regardless of position.

As fate would have it, 2020 draft boards are full of wing/forward prospects towards the end of the first round. After using their first pick on a top-level talent such as Tyrese Haliburton, San Antonio could package a second-round pick and expiring contract to move up and select someone like Cassius Stanley, Patrick Williams, or Leandro Bolmaro.

With the future of DeMar DeRozan up in the air a rebuild could be looming for San Antonio. If he leaves it seems all but inevitable, especially with veterans like Rudy Gay and Patty Mills on expiring deals.

It’s time for San Antonio to get aggressive and start amassing as much young talent as they can possibly get their hands on. If they can get an indication of how DeRozan plans to handle his future, dealing away a player on an expiring deal for another first-round pick would be the perfect kick start to a much-needed rebuild.

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The San Antonio Spurs have had luck with late-round picks and draft-day trades in the past. 2020 could be the year they go back to the well and test out a strategy that has proven to lead them to success in the past.