A deeper look at the San Antonio Spurs’ odds in the 2020 NBA Draft
By Dylan Carter
With the San Antonio Spurs looking at the draft lottery for the first time in more than two decades, the odds of landing a great pick are improved.
After years of being projected to crumble, the glass castle built at the AT&T Center is on the verge of finally breaking. Sitting at the 12th seed in the Western Conference with a 27-36 record on the season, the San Antonio Spurs are most likely going to land the 11th pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.
However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver created some drastic changes to the draft lottery just one season ago to dispel tanking teams from losing on purpose. This makes the likelihood of San Antonio jumping into the top four of the draft much more plausible than ever before.
This change made it so that teams throughout the lottery have improved chances to jump into the top three and snag a pick. We saw this as the case with last year’s second pick going to the team with the 12 seed in the West and the No. 1 pick going to the team in 13th. We saw the trajectories of both the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans change exponentially when they secured rookie phenoms Ja Morant and Zion Williamson respectively.
For Spurs fans unfamiliar with the draft process, I recommend heading over to Tankathon to get comfortable with the odds. The site uses the same algorithm as the NBA to roll simulations of the NBA Draft lottery and bases its projections on up-to-date records and stats.
I used Tankathon to run the draft lottery and found some interesting results when it came to the No. 12 seed Spurs. San Antonio fell back to the 12th seed eight times in 100 simulations and back to No. 13 twice after that. However, San Antonio also netted the first pick twice, the second pick thrice and the third pick once for a grand total of seven leaps.
Being that the Spurs are not used to playing for the lottery, a top-three pick would be hugely Influential to their immediate future. Having an expert coaching staff and a well-rounded young core in place, all San Antonio needs to take that next step into the future is a young player to lead them there.
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That player may already be on the roster as a Lonnie Walker, Derrick White or Dejounte Murray. Or, it could be someone like projected top draft pick James Wiseman, a dominant-interior center with a modern skill set or Anthony Edwards, a dominant scoring guard from Georgia.
The odds aren’t necessarily in the Spurs’ favor, and losing would certainly help them secure better draft standing, but that’s not how this team operates. Intentionally losing isn’t an option, which is why it’s taken this long for San Antonio to be in this conversation in the first place.
Tankathon’s Mock Draft projects the Spurs snagging power forward Obi Toppin from Dayton with the No. 11 pick, as of March 25, 2020. Our own Kendall Garriss discussed Toppin as being one of the most pivotal players for the Spurs to target in this upcoming draft, proving the point that San Antonio could be well off even if they get their projected 11th pick.
Even with that being the case, there’s a glimmer of hope that San Antonio gets its next star in this upcoming NBA Draft.